There are many benefits to cultivating healthy habits in your day-to-day life, and this is especially for men 40 and over. These habits play a significant role to boost your mood and energy, help you maintain your weight and other aspects of your physical appearance. Most importantly, they help prevent certain diseases or health conditions that you may develop as a result of your genes or your lifestyle choices. Overall, they help improve your physical, mental, and emotional well being as you age.
Once you reach 40 and over, it becomes even more important to develop healthy habits in order to increase chances of a longer and happier life. Even if you’re already hitting the gym and exercising regularly, it takes more than that to keep your body and your mind in peak condition. You really have to commit to a healthier, more well-rounded routine.
If you’re looking to stay in tip-top shape and boost your overall health, we’ve listed 10 healthy habits that you need to develop before turning 40.
1. Eat a healthy diet
One of the best healthy habits men should adopt is eating a healthy diet to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and improve your overall health. Start this off by limiting your sugar intake, cutting down on meat and dairy, and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
You should also avoid processed foods—they’re usually full of unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and contain very little of the nutrients that your body actually needs.
You may also want to pay attention to your daily calorie intake and macronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) ratios. This is particularly important in helping you feel more energized or reach a certain weight goal.
2. Drink more water
We all know that drinking water has many health benefits, since humans are 70% water. For one, it helps maintain the balance of fluids in the body to help your body function properly. Humans can live significantly longer without food than without water. It also energizes your muscles and aids in healthy bowel function.
Also, being dehydrated can lead to physical manifestations such as tiredness, headaches, and dizziness—not to mention very dry skin. This becomes even more of a problem once you reach your 40s, because as you age, your skin loses its natural elasticity, which means more wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
So, don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Aim to get at least 2-4 liters of water per day.
Get enough sleep
People often forget or neglect their sleep because of their busy schedules, but this doesn’t mean that you should do the same. In fact, not getting enough sleep can affect your performance and mood. It can also lead to weight gain and poor skin health, which is why this is a healthy habit all men should adopt as they age.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended hours of sleep for adults aged 26 and above is around 7-9 hours, which means you should aim to get good quality sleep for at least seven hours every night.
Take care of your skin
Regular physical activity, at least 30 – 60 minutes 3 times per week, is one of the ten critical healthy habits vital to help you control your weight, reduce the risk of developing certain diseases, and increase your longevity.
To avoid getting cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes or high blood pressure and to keep yourself fit, sneak in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. You may also want to inject more movement into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or riding your bik instead of driving your car when running errands.
Get regular check-ups
Getting regular check-ups with your doctor or any other medical expert helps you discover potential health issues before they become a problem. They are crucial for early detection of health conditions and diseases, which increases your chances of getting the right treatment and overcoming the disease before it can worsen.
Once you reach 40, it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, and men should have a prostate exam and a colonoscopy, to check for cancer.
Spend time with your family
Spending quality time with your family is important for your health as well. Aside from giving you a longer and a healthier life, it also helps reduce stress. Being with your family members and cultivating healthy relationships with them can work wonders for your mental health, as it helps you avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Meditation is a healthy habit you need to practice to help keep your mind clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused—various studies have shown that it can also give you increased immunity, emotional balance, lower blood pressure, and even increased fertility.
If you are prone to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, meditation can help keep them at bay or lessen the severity of their symptoms.
Learn to breathe properly
If you tend to let out short, rapid breaths from your chest, then you aren’t breathing properly. The proper way to breathe is to breathe through your nose with your diaphragm, as it takes less effort, maximizes oxygen intake, and relaxes both your body and mind. When you breathe, make sure to let the air reach all the way down to your belly—but don’t make it feel forced. Make sure to maintain a relaxed, natural rhythm.
Taking 3 slow and deep breaths is a great way to overcome a stressful situation quickly. Changing your breathing pattern can greatly help improve your bodily functions, as the body and its systems are dependent on oxygen.
Once you start breathing the right way, you should see a significant improvement in your physical health and stress levels.
Do regular stretching
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. It also prevents them from getting stiff and contracted due to sitting on a chair in the office all day.
Stretching helps increase oxygen intake into the lungs and improves blood flow.
You can do a simple stretching routine (just make sure to stretch all the muscles in your body, from top to bottom) every morning and night.
Incorporating these healthy habits may seem difficult at first, particularly if you’re used to living a very unhealthy lifestyle. Nonetheless, if you’re approaching your 30s or 40s, it’s definitely worth making the effort to change your habits! After all, maintaining your overall physical and mental health is key if you want to live a long and happy life, and these simple habits can certainly help you achieve that.
Shane Haumpton is a contributing writer for several websites and blogs. She has written on a variety of topics, ranging from lifestyle, photography, travel, and arts and crafts to gadgets, social media, and internet safety. This self-confessed coffee addict and shutterbug manages to do all these while enjoying life as a first time mother.