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6 easy, healthy habits to adopt in your 40s.

I turn 40 in 124 days (and 12 hours, 56 minutes and 34 seconds) – and I’m really excited.

For me, turning 40 is a completely different life-phase in which I can finally take time out for me. The other side of 40 is about being able to look back on all I have achieved, enjoy my children in a completely different way now that they are older and most importantly, it is my time to truly prioritise my health.

It started three months ago. I embarked on a health kick that would see me entering my 40s in the best health possible, physically and emotionally.

I went to therapy for the first time, I started trying to enjoy my day more (even the boring bits) and I adopted some new healthy habits to ease me into the next exciting phase of my life. Here’s how I’m doing it.

1. By drinking more water.

We all know how important it is to drink enough water but it can so easily be forgotten. Water is important for hydration, for water retention, and for so many things when it comes to health. I’ve doubled my water intake recently to be more in line with the recommendation of around two litres or eight glasses per day. I’m not quite there yet but I have significantly increased my intake by just chugging a big glass of water after every meal.

The Zip HydroTap is a brilliant way to ensure you have access to pure, clean water in your home. You can even choose the Zip HydroTap that comes with the additions of instant boiling and sparkling water. Choose herbal tea in winter or sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus in summer.

"Choose herbal tea in winter or sparkling water with a squeeze of citrus in summer." Image via iStock.

2. By getting enough calcium.

Getting enough calcium is so important as you age to maintain bone strength. If you don’t consume enough of it, your body will draw it from your bones, causing them to weaken.

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Dairy is known to be an excellent source of calcium, especially healthy versions of milk, cheese and yoghurt. However, for those who are lactose intolerant (me) who can only consume small amounts of dairy, you can also increase your calcium intake by eating more broccoli, kale, edamame, bok choy, figs, oranges, sardines, salmon, almonds and white beans.

3. By strengthening your bones.

When I was younger I was all about the cardio - the longer the better. Thank goodness we know how to exercise smarter now. There is so much research showing that exercise that is shorter in length and higher in intensity, particularly intermittent exercise, is way more beneficial. Also the older you get, the more weight-bearing exercise you should do.

I have swapped my 60 minute daily cross trainer sessions for 30 minutes of high intensity training, plus random push ups during TV commercials. This serves to maintain muscle tone and also, most importantly, keeps your bones strong.

healthy habits
"This serves to maintain muscle tone and also, most importantly, keeps your bones strong." Image via iStock.

4. By reducing stress.

I started therapy three months ago, for the first time in my life. I felt a little weighed down by all of my responsibilities, particularly those to do with raising my kids well.

The single best piece of advice I was given by my therapist was, “Stop having any expectations”. She was referring to my habit of building things up and fretting over doing well at everything every single day and then feeling like a failure if it didn’t go perfectly.

Now, I allow myself a few minutes each day to just feel the sun on my face, take some deep breaths, enjoy a quite coffee and just give myself little bits of down time whenever I can.

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5. By getting regular health checks.

My husband and I have started visiting the doctor every year for a complete once over. My husband has a family history of diabetes and I have a family history of connective tissue diseases, so we want to catch anything as early as possible.

I’ve been going for a few years and plan to continue. My doctor found I was critically low in iron and vitamin D however aside from those concerns I was in perfect health, thank goodness.

Stay on top of your health. Be proactive.

"Stay on top of your health. Be proactive." Image via iStock.

6. By choosing healthy foods.

Now that I am approaching 40 I am less concerned with how much I eat and more concerned with the quality of what I eat.

Look at the foods you love and buy the healthiest versions of them. Or you might be able to add healthy foods to your favourite dishes, like more broccoli and kale to soups and stir fries or some baby spinach with your egg on toast – easy.

What healthy habits have you recently adopted?

Here are a few smart ways to up your water intake (and fruit too!):

Want more? Try these:

Is your soy latte really healthier than the regular kind? Here’s your answer.

Health Check: Can your brain be “full”?

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