Aging is inevitable, but the decline in health that comes along with aging doesn’t have to be. Although many men start to feel shifts in their health when they reach the fifth decade of life, lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of health problems that begin to crop up after 40. If you’re 40 or older, here’s a rundown of things you can do right now to shore up your physical health and well-being.
Health screenings in your 40s are more important than ever, so don’t skip your annual checkup. Conditions such as high cholesterol, prostate gland enlargement, and heart disease start rearing their heads during middle age, underscoring the need for diligent health screenings and early intervention to nip any problems in the bud.
Now is not the time to become a couch potato. A sedentary lifestyle increases your overall risk of obesity and the illnesses that come with it, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Reduce your risk by aiming for 150 minutes or more of moderate exercise weekly.
If You Smoke, Quit
Smoking is one of the absolute worst things you can do to your body. It isn’t just your lungs that are damaged by smoking. The kidneys and the bladder, which serve as a filtration system for your body, are tasked with processing the many, many toxins found in cigarette smoke. This increases a smoker’s risk of kidney failure and urological cancers.
Keep Blood Pressure in Check
You may already know that chronic high blood pressure is horrible for your heart. But you may not know that uncontrolled high blood pressure is a top cause of kidney failure, too. Blood pressure issues sometimes crop up in the 40s, but many people are unaware of their elevated levels because they don’t experience symptoms. Have your blood pressure checked annually or more often so that you can work with your doctor to resolve any issues that arise.
Throw aside the junk food that’s been plaguing your diet up until now and focus more on whole foods. High-sugar, high-fat, high-carb and highly processed foods put a lot of stress on the body’s organs. Focus on grass-fed meats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy to stay healthier.
Protect Your Skin
If you don’t already, the time is right to start using a broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen doesn’t just reduce your skin’s exposure to the aging effects of the sun. It also provides a buffer against skin cancer.
Remember, the new health maxim is self-care. This means stop pushing your physical and emotional well-being to the back burner and start being proactive about your own health and happiness.