40 Health Mistakes Women in their 40's Make
If you’re a woman in your 40’s, and you sense you’re not doing the things for your health you should be doing, or maybe doing things you shouldn’t be doing, I’m here to tell you what’s what. It’s really important at this point in your life that you prepare for your future health.
Just remember, every action you do today, affects your tomorrow. So, live today with tomorrow in mind!
You pay attention to your body, but not your mind
The health of our brain is every bit as important as the health of our body. Because it’s all connected, right? We finally accept the fact that the mind-body connection is very real. With so much emphasis put on the body, and our appearance, we often forget about our noggin’. It’s essential that we gals in our 40’s begin to take care of our minds. This is the time to do what’s needed to keep our mind clear and focused, and to prevent diseases of cognition like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
How do we do this? I suggest a meditation practice. Its mental benefits are astounding, and I can attest to this fact. My productivity levels are so much higher when I meditate in the morning. And my mind is so much more peaceful—probably the best boon of all. I also like to challenge my mind in new ways. For example, all last year, I dedicated 30 minutes per day to studying Italian on a Pimsleur app. It was wonderful, effective, and best of all—fun! Lastly, I pay attention to what I eat. Fatty fish is really good for brain health, as well as staving off depression. I make sure I keep several cans of sardines in olive oil around the house, and treat myself to a salmon fillet from time to time. And of course, I eat plenty of green vegetables, which are good for everything!
You haven’t been able to kick the smoking habit
One of my best friends is in her late 40’s and she still smokes. In fact, just the other day, I had a conversation with her about how she wants to kick the habit but doesn’t believe she ever will. It’s a terribly hard habit to break, especially if you’ve been doing it all your adult life. But, it can be done. And, it must be done if you’re a woman in your 40’s. Smoking is linked to so many diseases—heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and various hormonal issues. On average, smoking also cuts years off your life. If you haven’t kicked the habit, and you know it’s time, please seek professional help. It will be worth it, I promise!
You still overindulge in alcohol
If you’re like me, you don’t drink nearly as much as you did in your twenties and thirties. Your body can’t handle it, and hangovers simply aren’t worth it. Sure, a little indulgence from time to time happens. But, if you’re still binge drinking on a daily basis, it’s time to stop. You know how it makes you feel, and if you find yourself getting out of control, you may want to delve deeper into the whys of your drinking habits. Is there an emotional void you’re trying to fill? A pain you’re trying to numb? If you’ve had a traumatic experience that you haven’t addressed, and have been masking the problem with alcohol, it’s probably time to confront the issue and see a professional.
You barely exercise
I have a friend in her 40’s who always says she needs to exercise more, but never gets around to it. She has the yoga DVD’s I gave her, and the freedom in her work schedule to join a gym, or at the very least, take her young dog on multiple walks throughout the day. But, she can’t seem to motivate herself in the same way she used to when she was younger. I think she needs to join a dance class in the evenings, because she loves to dance, and I think paying for a dance class is the only way she’ll follow through with an exercise routine. If this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone! We’re not all active types. But, in our 40’s we need to make ourselves be!
You haven’t started meditation
If you’re a wise woman in your 40’s and you’ve yet to start a regular meditation practice, now’s the time. I can’t stress just how good meditation is for your health. It’s also one of the best practices you can do if you want to prevent cognitive decline as you age. Plus, some studies have even shown it’s an effective preventative measure for cardiovascular disease, as well as high blood pressure. Meditation is the perfect form of self-care. And, it’s free! Find a meditation style that you love. You may want to listen to a guided visualization, or perhaps a mindfulness audio, or simply the sound of your inhalation and exhalation. Anything goes. Just do it! And with time, you’ll find your meditation groove.
You don’t know how to manage your stress
Stress is responsible for so many of our ills. Do you know how to manage yours? If not, it’s time to gather some healthy tools to do so. And no, this doesn’t involve drinking. Although, there’s nothing wrong with a good glass of red wine. But, if you’re drinking habitually to de-stress, there are healthier ways to go about it. You may want to explore aromatherapy, meditation, yoga, and pranayama. Find a form of exercise that tires your body and calms your mind. Regular exercise is an excellent way to manage stress. Cognitive therapy has been known to help, as does the practice of mindfulness, which we’ll explore in another article. I love to keep lavender and marjoram essential oil nearby. They’re both relaxing and sedating plant essences that have only positive side effects.
You don’t do burst training
Burst training is tough, don’t get me wrong. But, you really don’t have to do it much—once each week is what I stick to. I do a killer 20-minute tabata routine on youtube. It’s tough, but doing it once per week feels like something I need to do. It just feels right. This workout really strengthens your heart muscle. It’s anaerobic in nature, and intense. You don’t want to do it every day. But, once or twice a week is perfect.
You don’t do yoga
I don’t know who I’d be without yoga. Seriously! I started practicing in my early twenties, and almost no day has passed that I didn’t do at least a few yoga asanas. It’s my go-to exercise. And it’s so beneficial for your health on so many levels! Mind, body, spirit—this is the beauty of yoga!
You don’t do strength training
If you haven’t really dedicated yourself to a regular strength training routine just yet, now’s the time. This is when your muscles and bones need your attention, lest they lose their integrity. You don’t want to grow old and be riddled with osteopenia or osteoporosis. And strength training will help you prevent these “silent diseases.”
You’re still eating processed foods
Processed foods are no good for your health and longevity. In fact, they’re really, really bad. To stay healthy as you age, please buy organic produce and shop primarily along the edges of the store. Stay away from the aisles that contain boxes, packages, and wrapped up foods with ingredients you can’t read. The foods you should be eating in your 40’s are the ones that come straight from the earth. They’re nutrient-dense and really, really beneficial for all aspects of your being.
You don’t buy organic
Ever heard of the dirty dozen? They’re the foods you need to buy organic because their pesticide load is heavy. The dirty dozen includes: kale, spinach, strawberries, apples, grapes, nectarines, cherries, peaches, pears, celery, tomatoes, and potatoes. Leafy greens are another form of produce I try to buy organic as often as possible. I would add coffee and tea to your list as well. Especially coffee, as it’s one of the heaviest sprayed edibles on the planet. And if you really want to get serious about your health, shop organic and in season—from your local farmers.
You’re not eating enough fruits and veggies
Fruits and vegetables are truly the most nutrient dense foods. Green plant foods are medicinal in nature, as are medicinal mushrooms, and seaweeds like nori and kombu. And while you may think you eat your fruits and veggies like you should, are you eating enough? Some days pass when I’ve not had anything green, save a matcha latte. And, that’s ok. It happens. But, most of the time I make sure I eat at least a few servings of green veggies, and you can get them all in your morning smoothie. Spirulina tablets are another way to get your greens if eating veggies are difficult for you. When in doubt, eat real food, and mostly plants.
You eat too much sugar
I have a sweet tooth, no doubt. And my mom is even worse. I somehow don’t feel complete unless I have a special treat after dinner, which really shouldn’t be the case. I mean, I don’t need something sweet after every meal! So, I do my best to stick to small amounts of dark chocolate for my sugar source, and steer clear of the baked goodies and candies, and anything else that contains white sugar. Sugar is really detrimental to your overall health. It’s also highly addictive. If you’re a lovely lady in your 40’s and you’re still eating a lot of sugar, it’s time to cut back!
Your finances are still a mess
Are you in your 40’s and still in debt? If so, the stress of having messy finances could be wreaking havoc with your health. It’s taken me a long while to feel good about my finances, ‘cause I never made much as a writer. I’ve had to be frugal and resourceful my entire life. Luckily, I have a good head on my shoulders when it comes to money, and I simply don’t do debt. I go without, instead. If your finances are still a mess at this point in your life, it’s time to change that. You need to be financially stable and independent to live a healthy, happy life.
You skimp on sleep
Are you skimping on sleep? As a gal in her 40’s it’s really important to make sleep one of the most important parts of your life. Your hormones need ample sleep to maintain balance, especially as you get older. My feeling is that perimenopause and menopause will be less treacherous if you start getting enough sleep now. Stay tuned for an article entirely about sleep rituals and routines to get the best sleep of your life!
You neglect your girlfriends
Your girlfriends have been there for you through thick and thin. They’re your tribe, and they feed and nourish your soul. It’s so easy to neglect them if you’re married or in a serious relationship. If you have children you probably have very little time for your gal pals. But, wherever you are in your life, do your best to maintain those friendships. They’ll keep you healthy, especially as you age.
You don’t take time for you
Now that you’re in your 40’s, I hope you’ve experienced the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual benefits of self-care. There’s a spa and gym nearby that I go to about once every two months. My massage comes with a free pass to the gym, which includes access to the indoor pool, sauna, steam room, and freezing cold plunge pool. I take advantage of all those amenities and spend about four hours doing so. It feels like a dream—so peaceful and healthy.
You give up on maintaining your ideal weight
Lots of us ladies in our 40’s kinda give up on staying as trim and slim as we should because we’ve reached our 40’s. It’s more difficult to keep the pounds off and we’ve earned a bit of slacking off, right? I say, wrong. Because once you let yourself go, and then start to regret it, it’s so much more difficult to go back. On the other hand, if you keep yourself in shape and work a little harder to do so, you’ll be so glad you did. You’ll feel happier and more self-confident. You’ll also be doing your job to prevent diseases that often accompany those extra pounds. Diabetes is one example. But, so are high blood pressure and heart disease. And cancer. So take care of your weight, even if you’ve managed to make it to or over the fabulous age of forty!
You can get healthier as you age. That’s my plan, anyway. Will you join me?