This is Part 2 of a 3-part series which may be helpful for those women who have ‘crossed over’ from one decade into the next. For many women, their 30s are the years where their path in life becomes clear.
If you started a family, chances are that by now, your children are at school or beyond, and your life is more like a Category 1 hurricane than the major Cat. 4 typhoon it was a few short years ago. Sometimes the 40s are referred to as the ‘in between’ decade. It is, in effect a dress rehearsal of sorts for menopause, and for some women this is hard to accept because we were just buying our first training bra a minute ago…right?
It would be remiss of me not to reiterate that everyone is different, and many of these tips and observations may not apply, but having been there and done that, I can draw on the personal experiences with which many women may identify.
The aim is to do everything you can to stay healthier, more alert and energetic and most importantly, more fulfilled for many years to come.
1. Eating Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day
Once in our 40s, our basal metabolic rate decreases by about 4 – 5 percent, which roughly translates to about 100 calories a day. So we either need to consume 100 calories less per day, or burn up 100 calories more per day, otherwise you may experience unwanted extra kilos – even though your diet or lifestyle hasn’t changed. A solid meal at the start of every day is the conductor to your body’s orchestra. Your metabolism is at its most active in the morning and this encourages activity as well as staving off cravings which occur when your blood sugar plunges. Eating breakfast is the best way to keep weight down and metabolism up. I can vouch for the fact that this is true. Now I eat breakfast every day. On the days that I didn’t, I felt sluggish and ravenous by lunchtime, and because of that, sometimes my food choices were not as healthy
2. Strength Training to Jump-Start Your Metabolism
By consistently performing a few targeted exercises several times a week, you can make a huge improvement to the way your body looks and performs. Strength training not only tones those tricky areas like butt, belly, thighs, upper arms and hips, but helps maintain bone strength. If you’re not sure exactly what strength training is, or how you should go about it, here are some terrific moves to help you Love Your Body.
3. Practicing Stress Control
The jury is in about stress. It definitely makes you age faster and can upset your natural ‘heart rate variability’. This in turn can lead to increased blood pressure, less energy, the inability to think clearly and even more serious complications from there. Here are some ways to reduce your stress levels, not just as a one-off, but as something you should make a part of your new daily routine:
- Drink green tea. Green tea contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that has a soothing, calming effect. Drinking green tea has been shown to stimulate production of the brain waves known as alpha waves, which arise when a person is in a relaxed state.
- Take time out to listen to your favourite music. The old adage that ‘music has charms to soothe the savage breast’ is true, and can help completely alter your mood.
- Take up yoga, tai chi or Pilates. This will not only teach you the proper meditation techniques, but help with your core fitness
- Develop a hobby. With more precious to yourself, you get to re-visit those passions you’ve had to shelve away during the ‘hurricane’ years.
4. Getting 7 – 9 Hours Sleep Per Night
Just when we thought those endless nights of getting up tending to crying babies were over, our 40s can herald the onset of insomnia and broken sleeps. This can be due to hormonal changes and outside stress factors. Getting enough sleep is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being. It helps improve concentration and memory formation, and most importantly allows your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day. It also refreshes your immune system, which in turn helps to prevent disease.
Many health care professionals and naturopaths consider sleep to be a barometer of a person’s health, like monitoring temperature. Erratic sleep patterns are likely to lead to depression, attention and memory problems, and excessive daytime sleepiness, hence the urge to take ‘nanna-naps’ mid afternoon.
5. Getting those essential checkups
Doing everything you can to prevent potential health catastrophes is a sensible way to live your life from now on. I can speak from experience when I say that many women think they are invincible. An ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude can be your tragic undoing, as it nearly was with me. If only I’d had my blood pressure checked. If only I’d paid attention to my parents’ history of cardiovascular health issues. If only I hadn’t been so stubborn about ignoring the inevitable fact that my lifestyle needed some serious attention. Four months ago, I suffered a brain hemorrhage, or stroke, and it really did change my attitude. Even though this happened at the age of 56, if I’d changed that blasé attitude in my 40s…then perhaps it wouldn’t have happened at all. So here are the routine tests you should be having in your 40s. It sounds tedious, but if you do want to make it through to the fabulous fifties and beyond, then a little tedium won’t kill you.
- An eye exam: Every 2 – 4 years
- Blood pressure check: Every year
- Thyroid check: Every 5 years
- Pap test and pelvic exam: Every 1-3 years
- Mole Check: Every year
- Mammogram: Every 1 – 2 years
- Blood Glucose: Every 2 years from age 45
And finally, here are some of the common shifts that women experience in their 40s and some all natural supplements that can combat some of the discomforts.
Weight gain: Try Bee Slim Green Coffee Bean Extract
Heavier periods: Try Women’s Relief Evening Primrose Oil capsules
Decreasing libido: Try Nature Bee Potentiated Bee Pollen, and/or Royal Jelly
Cardiovascular problems: Try Triple Action Resveratrol, or Omega 3