10 Gross Habits You'd Better Quit ASAP
11 Bad Habits You Can No Longer Get Away With In Your 40s
Sure, 40 is the new 30, but some days you might wonder if your body got the memo. While there are plenty of fabulous things that happen when you turn 40, the trade-off is that you can't skate by health-wise like you could in your 20s and 30s: Your metabolism starts to slow down, your risk factors for certain conditions go up, and it becomes a whole lot harder to neglect your body and get away with it.
That doesn't mean you have to let middle age wreak havoc on your well-being, but you do have to be more careful about avoiding a few common mistakes. Here are a few bad habits to break so you can stay healthy in your 40s and beyond. (And while we're on the topic of aging amazingly well, you have to check out our new book —you'll see how simple it is to cut your risk of Alzheimer's in half, naturally. )
There are plenty of reasons to love (or at least tolerate) cardio—it torches calories, improves endurance, and reduces your chances of heart attack and stroke —but make sure you're incorporating weights into your workouts, too. "We all begin to lose muscle mass around age 30, and this process accelerates at age 40," says Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center.
The problem, she explains, is that muscle mass plays a big role in your basal metabolic rate—the amount of calories you burn at rest—so when you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down. (If you've noticed it's suddenly harder to lose weight, that could explain why.) Strength training twice a week (with these 5 essential movements) can help you rebuild muscle and get your metabolism back up to speed.
Depression is more prevalent among women than men, and once you turn 40, you're also in the age group most likely to have this condition. But according to the CDC, only about 35% of people actually seek help for their symptoms. If you're dealing with sadness, irritability, guilt, or loss of interest in stuff you normally enjoy—and your symptoms stick around for more than two weeks—it may be more than just a bad mood. (Luckily, there are a number of natural remedies that may help you manage your symptoms without medication.) Talk to your doctor to see if you need treatment.
At this age, you can typically go five years between Pap tests, as long as you've had normal results up until this point. But that doesn't mean you should skip you gyn visits altogether. You might still need yearly pelvic and breast exams, plus your annual checkup is a great chance to discuss any health issues or hormonal changes you've been experiencing. (Don't worry how crazy your symptoms sound—we guarantee that your gyno has seen crazier.)
If you still have perfect vision or you prescription hasn't changed in the past few years, you may not see any reason to rush to the eye doctor. (Just make sure you're not ignoring one of these 5 eye symptoms, fromPreventionPremium.) But after you turn 40, you're more likely to experience eye problems that can lead to vision issues, like glaucoma. "Women should start getting comprehensive eye exams once they turn 40, because early signs of vision problems and eye conditions can begin at this age, and the risk increases with each decade afterwards," says Elizabeth Yeu, MD, an ophthalmologist in Norfolk, VA.
In your 20s and 30s when you're building a career or starting a family (or both!), it's easy to put your health on the back burner while you juggle everything else. But make this the year you start taking care of yourself as much as you take care of others. "Start a new mindset, and think of yourself as a priority," says Anne Davis, MD, an ob-gyn at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Schedule an annual checkup with your primary care physician. Find time to exercise. Make sure you're getting any screenings and blood work you need.
Video: A simple way to break a bad habit | Judson Brewer
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