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Better than Cure
In your fabulous 40s, you still feel invincible—
these are great years, after all.
But subtle changes are occurring that need to be addressed before they become problems. Here is
some of the most common health shifts women experience:
Metabolism: Slowing by 2% per decade.
Muscle: Down by 6 to 7 pounds from 10 years ago.
Bone: Dropping by about 1% a year since your mid-thirties.
Stress: Especially high because of worries about kids, parents, health, career, and finances.
Depression: More likely now than later in life.
You generally tend to put on weight after 35 years of age because of reduced metabolism leading to
obesity. Obesity (being overweight) is a leading health problem nowadays. Obesity is calculated
weight in kg divided by height in m2. This measurement is called body mass index or BMI. Obesity is
defined as BMI of more than 30.
Establish the following preventative habits now and you'll not only counter these changes—you'll stay
healthier, sharper, more energetic, and more fulfilled for years to come.
1. Eat breakfast every day
Nutritionists agree that eating breakfast is essential to keeping weight down and calorie-burning
metabolism up. The healthy-breakfast eaters continued losing over time even though they ate more
total calories, while the low-carb group started regaining weight after 4 months.
Reason: A solid meal at the start of the day works in concert with metabolism, which is highest in the
morning, fueling activity and preventing cravings that arise when blood sugar drops.
Strength-training for 6 months can increase your resting metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories
even when you’re sitting on the sofa. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
Bonus: Strength-training also helps you shore up bone, maintain balance, and avoid injury—important
for protecting your skeleton both now and when you’re older.
3. Boost calcium and vitamin D
Both are essential for strong bones, but many experts feel current benchmarks are too low. The
recommendation is that women in their 40s get 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D
every day from foods like fortified milk or salmon, along with supplements if needed. Some nutrition
experts suggest getting up to 1,000 IU a day for optimal health.
4. Practice stress control
A healthy, calm heart beats faster when you breathe in, slower when you breathe out. But stress
inhibits this natural "heart rate variability," triggering unhealthy changes body wide, including
increased blood pressure, less energy to the brain, and faster cell death. In effect, stress makes you
To get your heart into a healthier rhythm, breathe in through your nose for 4 beats and out for 8 at
least twice a day or anytime you feel pressure.
5. Pump up protein
Getting foods with all the amino acids needed to form complete proteins at least twice a day boosts
levels of mood-lifting neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help relieve symptoms of depression,
like slow thinking and poor memory. Aim for 4 ounces of protein at each meal. Good sources include
fish, eggs, and quinoa. But don’t totally skip carbs: They boost mood by increasing production of
serotonin in the brain.
6. Get essential check-ups
In addition to making health-boosting, stress-busting habits a part of your lifestyle, don’t neglect these
Eye exam: Every 2 to 4 years
Blood pressure: Every 2 years
Pap test and pelvic exam: Every 1 to 3 years
Thyroid: Every 5 years
Mole check: Every year
Mammogram: Every 1 to 2 years
Blood glucose: Every 3 years starting at age 45
7. Maintaining urinary control and pelvic floor tone
Both your bladder and bowels can become difficult to control and you may experience embarrassing
leaking. Being overweight makes this worse as continual pressure can also weaken the pelvic floor.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is composed of a thin sheet of muscle fibers and associated connective tissue between
the pubic bone at the front and tail bone at the back. These muscles support the urinary system,
uterus (womb) and vagina and back passage. The pelvic floor muscles contract when you cough,
sneeze or strain, helping to prevent the involuntary leakage of urine. They help to support the pelvic
organs, like the bladder, uterus in the correct position. They help in the control of passing of urine, gas
and bowel motions.
In order for the pelvic floor muscles to carry out their function well, they need to be fit and
adequately toned just like any other muscle in the body. Lack of control over the bladder leads to
“urinary incontinence” and this has two types. The first one is “stress incontinence” and occurs when
urine leaks when you sneeze, cough or exert yourself. The other type of urinary incontinence is “urge
incontinence” (overactive bladder) when you need to go to the toilet more often and during the night
and also find it hard to “hold on” and you may leak before you get to the toilet. Research has shown
that obesity may make this condition worse and that weight reduction can help to improve the
Prolapse is a bulging of the bladder or bowel, or uterus (womb) into the vagina or out of the vaginal
entrance if more severe. It also results from a weak pelvic floor and is more common in overweight
women and just gets worse with time.
Sit comfortably with your feet and knees wide apart. Lean forward and place your elbows on
your knees. Remember to keep breathing throughout and keep your stomach, leg and buttock
Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself passing gas from the bowel and at the same time
trying to stop the flow of urine from the bladder. You should feel a lifting and tightening
around the vagina and anus.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles maximally without using your buttocks, thigh muscles or
abdominals as described above. Hold tight for as many seconds as you can (up to maximum of
‘tighten, hold and release’ as many times as you can (up to a maximum of 8-12 repetitions)
Now perform the pelvic floor exercise, but squeeze and lift more firmly, then let go. This is
called a quick contraction and will help your muscles react quickly when you laugh, cough,
exercise or lift. Aim 8 to 12 contractions
Do these 3 times a day.
Your life is just started at forty. Let’s aim to make the rest of
our lives the best of our lives.
SPS Hospital Ludhiana