Here's how to have a healthy 40s

How healthy you will be in your 40s depends on what you eat and how you live in your 20s. Our expert charts out a survival strategy for a fitter future

When you are diagnosed with a health disorder in your 40s, there's little that you can do to completely reverse the damage. A wiser option is to start walking the correct lifestyle course much early on and reduce the chances of disorders altogether. Fitness expert and trainer Dilip Heble gives pointers to healthier 20-something habits that will lead to a better 40-something life.

Make sure you get three to six hours of exercise every week. You can go for a jog, engage yourself in a sport or best, hit the gym.
Exercise makes you agile, muscular and boosts your stamina. Most importantly, it reduces your stress levels - a factor that is deemed the root cause for most problems in the 40s. Reduction in the stress levels also helps increase productivity and enables you to deal with environmental pressures. Also, it leads to a lower resting heart rate, which brings down the risk of cardiac disorders.

Supplement yourself
Considering the quality of food available today, it is vital you take multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplements. You might stock up generously on carbohydrates and proteins, but minus the essential vitamins, you will be far from healthy.
These vitamins and minerals important for various functions of the body. For instance, three B vitamins (namely folic acid, B6, and B12) are known to reduce the homocysteine levels in the body, thereby also reducing the risk of dementia.

In this day and age of social networking, most youngsters have forgotten to exercise their brains. Indulge in an activity that challenges your grey matter. Engage in analytical tasks as much as possible. For instance, you may read a book, play chess, solve the everyday crossword and read on current issues. You could also opt to learn a musical instrument that interests you.
These tasks will keep your brain agile and help minimise the risk of brain disorders such as dementia in the later years.

Switch off
Yes, you must work hard and party harder. But the problem begins when you stick to this mantra every night and end up compromising on your sleep. You may be able to pull this off without much problem in your 20s, but the inadvertent damage will trouble you in your 40s. The body's repair happens during sleep. And when you don't sleep, you are not giving the body enough time to bounce back. Hence, make sure you get the desired sleep.
Your biological clock will be in order giving a natural rhythm to bodily functions. Just sleep at the same time every night.

Bone supremacy
Bone length might be established by the time you are 20. However, bone density and strength can be built all the way until you are 30. Studies have suggested that young men and women ought to build up a 'bone bank' during this stage which will help avoid osteoporosis later in life.

Follow a routine
A study established that women who were most active between the ages of 18 to 22 stuck to their regimen even during the middle-age and after that. The article published in the journal Medicine & Science said that early intervention was important to bring down the risk of coronary heart disease later.

Shred of hope
A series of 10 studies conducted in the US and Europe tracked the effect of fibre consumption on people. It was found that for each 10 grams of fibre consumed per day, the subjects experienced a 14 per cent reduction in instances of heart disease. Moreover, the risk of dying from a heart disease was brought down by almost 25 per cent.

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