I think I heard Chris D’elia once call it the big four-oh. I suppose it’s a failed attempt to sound cool.

But hey, hitting 40 is biologically no joke. Changes are happening quicker than you think. We start losing around 1% muscle mass with each passing year (even more, depending on your lifestyle and health issues), we gain weight quicker than we used to, and our risk of developing diseases increases. It’s a whole different fiasco from our ’20s.

There’s no need to be discouraged. Just as aging is a fact of life, so should adapting to it be.

Here’s how to improve your wellbeing over 40.

  • Exercise

I sound like a broken record, always including exercise as a solution to everything (which it is unless you’re paralyzed). As mentioned above, after 40, a medical condition called Sarcopenia aggravates as we continue aging. It is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. Losing muscle mass is detrimental to any weight loss effort. As we know, the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we burn during rest (also called Basal Metabolic Rate) and during exercise.

Let’s not panic for a second. Sarcopenia can be managed and its impact can be slowed down by following these steps.

Include a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Aerobic exercise (cardio) improves the muscles’ endurance and enhances the rate of energy expenditure while resistance training increases lean muscle mass. Research back up the claims that exercise regimens in the elder demographics decreased the rate of muscle loss.

Eat enough protein. Let’s make this easy: the recommended dietary allowance to maintain muscle mass is 0.8g/kg of body mass. So, if you weigh 80kg (176lbs) you should consume 64g of protein per day. 4 large eggs, 3 ounces of chicken breast, 100 grams of assorted nuts give you a total of 70g of protein. Now you can make changes to your pantry.

– This next solution is a bit dodgy. For men, the main muscle-building hormone is testosterone. The research body backing up this claim is extensive. However, testosterone levels start to decline by 1 to % each year after 30. It’s been linked to Sarcopenia. Testosterone supplementation therapy can be a solution to reduce muscle loss. Unfortunately, the downside is that this type of therapy has detrimental side effects that may lead to prostate cancer. As for women, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) hasn’t been shown to have much effect in fighting sarcopenia on its own. It’s advised to couple it with resistance training. Sadly, just like Testosterone supplementation therapy can lead to prostate cancer in men, HRT can lead to breast cancer in women.

  • Cut down on Alcohol

For the wine lovers out there, we apologize to break the news. Okay, maybe we’re not that sorry. After all, your wellbeing is our top priority.

Gone are the days of waving off Tuesday’s hangovers like they never existed. Our bodies react differently to alcohol as we age. It’s common sense since our bodies are changing.

We know that alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Just take a look at the Vodka-Yoga meme. We increase our risk of falling down, hitting something, or even texting an ex-husband. It’s just not worth it.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, here’s a list of the increased risks for drinking alcohol when you’re over 40 years old:

– Intensification of symptoms of Diabetes, stroke, ulcers, osteoporosis, and the list goes on.

– Misleading doctors when trying to diagnose their patients

– It can cause liver damage, immune system problems, and brain damage (which in turn can cause forgetfulness and confusion).

Convinced yet?

  • Take up a new hobby

When you’re over 40, life might start stagnating. We may also re-prioritize our responsibilities, or even renew our list of goals and ambitions.

Some of us are parents taking care of young ones and juggling work responsibilities and bills in the process. Some of us are retired with plenty of time on our hands. And some of us are still focusing on our careers but are single and free of any intimate commitment.

Life might get boring. What’s better to shake things up and improve our wellbeing than to take up new hobbies.

Research has shown that for people between the age of 54 and 70, social activities with the families, church, and charity activities improve life satisfaction and wellbeing.

Hobbies that involve physical activities such as walking and tai chi improve both the quality and quantity of life.

Intellectual activities such as learning a new language, reading different genres of books, or joining a debate club improve the brain’s capabilities and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease.

It’s also important to break out of our shells and seek out novelty. We gain the opportunity to further discover ourselves and find new passions that we never thought of before.

Our communities are a great place to start looking for interesting activities going around. So why not give it a shot?

  • Experiment with your diet

Dieting isn’t just about weight loss. Weighing within our ideal weight range is essential for leading a healthy but no one said dieting can’t be fun.

Try out new food. Maybe you’ve got a specific recipe in mind you’d like to try. Maybe you’ve seen a mouth-watering desert on Master Chef and you were thinking of making it yourself. Maybe all your friends are trying this new fad diet and you think you want to join them to boost their morale and try something new.

It doesn’t matter why. The point is to get out of your eating comfort zone as long as you keep in mind your medical history and the importance of eating healthy.

  • Be mindful of the changes happening to your metabolism

Does anyone know why we age? Share this post if you do. In a few words, oxygen, the element we desperately need to stay alive, is the number one culprit.

We age through a process called oxidative stress. This is where oxygen interacts with substances in the body called free radicals. We avoid the amplification of free radicals through healthy habits, therefore, slowing our aging process.

This is why experts always preach about the importance of antioxidants. The latter fight the free radicals and help keep them under control. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables.

The side effects of aging include Sarcopenia (mentioned above), and weakness/malfunctions in our eight bodily systems,

  • Take a genetic screening for potential hereditary ramifications

The human genome is fascinating. Take a look at how long have we been trying to decode it, and there’s still so much to learn about it. With all its complexity comes the ramifications of mutations and hereditary diseases. We may be aware of some of the risks that have been passed down by our ancestors yet, we can never be sure of all them without proper genetic screening.

Genetic screenings give us insights into what sort of mutations our genomes have accumulated throughout our living years, which means it can estimate our probabilities for developing certain types of cancer.

Knowing the risks that we’re highly exposed to helps us take precautions to prevent them from flaring up.

Genetic Screenings can be done for various reasons such as diagnostic testing, carrier testing, predictive testing, and pharmacogenetics.

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