40+plus the big FOUR OH!
making lifestyle changes for continued healthTHE BIG FOUR OH!
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Entering your fourth decade of life can to improve your health. Although quitting be a signifi cant milestone, as our is diffi cult for many smokers, it can be bodies begin to change, our physical done with assistance from your health-care endurance decreases, and we begin to realize we are entering the last half of our life.
Typically after age 40, we become more aware of our health concerns, our weight and energy level. As our metabolism begins to slow down, we tend to gain about one to two pounds per year, and hormonal shifts that occur that can account for further weight gain. We also lose Wissing provider or a smoking cessation specialist.
We are all aware of the role healthy eating plays in our lives. It has been estimated that about 70 percent of the diseases humans suffer from could be eliminated by eating a proper diet. Bear in mind, healthy eating is more than about 10-15 percent of our muscle mass every decade after 40.
So as our physical endurance decreases, we begin to notice physical limitations and minor aches and pains. Our lifestyle choices have a huge infl uence on how soon or fast these changes occur during the latter half of our life. Fortunately, with a few changes in lifestyle, we can live a healthy, productive life well into our upper years.
A lifestyle of no smoking, healthy eating, moderate exercise, management of stress, good sleep routine, and a balance of work and play can lead to longevity and good health.
Starting with the basics, if you smoke, stop. Smoking-related diseases are preventable, and quitting smoking is the number one change you can make to begin eating fruits and vegetables. It includes portion control, minimizing processed food and eating a correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Limiting salt intake, increasing daily intake of fi ber and consuming natural sources of vitamins D and calcium also adds to a healthy diet during our older years.
The typical diet of restricting calories in hopes of losing weight and keeping it off has been shown not to be effective. The body and brain will resist being deprived of certain foods such as carbohydrates, fats and salt. Portion control and eating a balanced diet is more effective in the long run for weight management. Additionally, exercise plays a key role in weight loss.
Exercise becomes very important as we age. As we get older, we lose muscle mass and tone, and therefore experience decrease in metabolism. Weight gain is inevitable. Fortunately, older adults can benefi t from any form of exercise, and it does not need to be a high-intensity workout! Although there are numerous recommendations for weekly exercise, fi nding the right exercise for you, learning to make it a part of your lifestyle and being consistent is a better approach. Again, for exercise to be benefi cial, it does not need to be high intensity and exhaustive. After 40, having a medical examination by your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program is recommended.
Typically when we reach our 40s, we are nearing the peak of our careers and working hard and perhaps too many hours. Add in a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and limited personal time, and stress can become a big infl uence in our lives. Chronic stress has signifi cant effects on almost every organ in our bodies; increases our risk for heart diseases, and results in a variety of mental health issues. Being aware of your stress, taking steps to minimize it and learning to say no in your latter years will result in better health and a happier disposition in life.
As we age, we continue to require eight hours of good sleep. A good sleep routine includes limiting daytime naps, avoiding stimulants near bedtime, performing light exercise before sleep and avoiding foods that can disrupt sleep, such as rich or fried food. In addition, exposure to natural light to help maintain a good sleep-wake cycle, establishing a nighttime routine and making sure your sleep environment is comfortable will help. A comfortable room is cool – between 60-67 degrees – and has minimal light and low sound. Aging can result in physical issues that result in frequent nighttime awakenings, so becoming aware of your sleep habits and addressing any factors that can disrupt sleep is important.
Keeping a harrowing pace in our work and play life may have been easy in our younger years, but as we reach 40 and beyond, we physically cannot keep up. Recognizing this and taking the steps to alter your lifestyle will pay off in the long run. Limiting your work hours, having family time, time for personal needs, and enjoying friends can help balance our lives and result in healthy minds and bodies.
Dennis R. Wissing, PhD, RRT, AE-C, CPFT, FAARC - associate dean for academic affairs, professor of cardiopulmonary science & medline of LSU Health Shreveport. Registered respiratory therapist since 1974. Still practicing as a volunteer provider in area free clinics. Certified asthma educator along with being a smoking cessation counselor.