Saturday, 28 October 2017

5 Things Every Woman in Her 40's Should Do

40 year old woman image from Shutterstock

We’ve all heard that 40 is the new 30 and I think it is true that as a nation we are staying younger for longer. People are working for more years, having babies later in life and today's woman is expected to have it all but truly, we can only function well if we are looking after ourselves.

As a woman who really enjoyed her twenties and thirties but didn’t make enough time to look after herself, now is the last ditch attempt to ensure that I go into middle-aged feeling well. I want to share with you five things that every 40 year old woman should be doing (me included!).

1.   Get enough sleep
This one seems so simple and of course we all know that we function and look our best when we have had enough sleep but did you know that getting enough sleep will also boost your memory, reduce inflammation and avoid accidents?

Amazing isn’t it? Sleep can make such a difference, it can even increase our performance, as shown by a 2011 study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study discovered that elite athletes were able to improve their best times when they had more sleep each night over a lengthened period.

Not only is it important to get enough sleep though, more recent studies show that you should adopt a regular pattern of sleep. Your bed and wake times need to be pretty consistent to ensure that your circadian rhythm operates at its peak. The circadian clock ensures that hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released about an hour before you need to wake up and your body will have moved into the less deep REM sleep so that when you make you feel good and ready to go.

2.   Ensure she’s eating a balanced diet
Fad diets and restricting any of the major food groups is never a good idea but it is important, even more so, as you get older to make sure that you are taking in a well-balanced diet. If your diet includes a wide variety of foods you’ll be able to avoid the costly supplements that some people turn to.

Start your day with a healthy big breakfast to kick start your metabolism after the fast of the night. Your metabolism is at its highest in the morning and this injection of good calories will help you resist carvings later in the morning and fill you with energy to tackle the day ahead.

As you get older you’ll want to ensure you have enough Calcium and Vitamin D in your diet as these aid the development of healthy bones and of course as we age our bone density decreases.  So make sure you have plenty of dairy products, especially those fortified with vitamin D, oily fish like salmon and tuna, and leafy greens.

Protein rich foods are also really beneficial as they are used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly. Protein can also help boost levels of mood-lifting neurotransmitters in the brain, which will help to alleviate the risk of depression, relieve brain fog and fill you with energy.

3.   Fit in time for exercise
You don’t have to become a gym bunny if this isn’t your thing but it is important to make time for both cardiovascular and strength training exercise. Go for a brisk walk that makes you slightly breathless and use a DVD at home to coach you through what strength exercises you can do to help build your muscle mass. 

It doesn't have to be expensive and don’t worry I’m not talking about you becoming a body builder, we all naturally start to lose muscle mass around the age of 40 (about 3-8% each decade after that) and thus we need to work hard to resist that decline and stay fit and well. Weight lifting or strength training has gained momentum in the last few years and this article in the Telegraph makes for very compelling reading.


4.   Check her breasts regularly
As you get older it is inevitable that your breasts will lose their firmness, shrink and sag. Lumps can also become more common as you get older and many of these will be harmless but it can be hard to tell. So regularly checking your breasts (at least once a month) should be a priority and not something to be embarrassed about.

If you would like a greater level of reassurance then Breastlight might be right for you. This is an easy to use at home device that helps you check your breasts for abnormalities. Any woman of any shape, size or race can use Breastlight to see the tissue inside their breast. It also works really well for those ladies with implants who can struggle with a traditional breast examination.

You use the device in a dark room and a red light is shone into your breast, it passes through the breast tissue and reveals dark areas where blood is present. It is therefore fairly normal to see a pattern of veins but, if there is a dark cluster, this is a potential abnormality that requires a proper visit and check up by the doctor.

Breastlight can be used by women of all ages but it is particularly useful for those going through or past the menopause as the tissue of the breast will have changed with the level of hormones in the body. You can check out Breastlight reviews over here.

5.   Make time for herself to unwind and de-stress
Once you hit 40, your life is pretty hectic I’m sure. If it’s not children causing your anxieties, it might be your career or perhaps elderly parents.  It’s really important to make time for yourself and do whatever it is that helps to reduce your stress levels.  Being in a constant state of stress is not good for you and can lead to premature ageing and of course medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Creating me-time doesn’t have to be cumbersome or expensive. Even ten minutes to yourself before everyone else in the house wakes can be enough to help you have a good start to your day. Or maybe it is a bubble bath and some candles in the evening that make the difference for you. Whatever it is make sure you have a little me-time every single day and then a longer period at least once a week.

Of course there are plenty more things that we should be doing as women in our forties but if we take heed of these five that isn’t a bad start!

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