Yes, your 40s are your best decade. You will discover that you are wiser and more established; and if you are doing things right, you should discover that you are much happier as a woman, and / or as a man. In fact, you can look radiant and even younger than someone does at that age. But that does not mean that your body is not about to undergo interesting changes that, although it is not de rigueur that these changes appear to everyone just after the age of 40, yes to most and you should certainly know them because they commonly arrive without warning.
After age 40 your body changes in these ways
Now, if those changes are for better or for worse, it is really a matter of perspective. Plus, you are more than capable of lessening any adverse effects they may have on your life. So consider the following list a warning: that's what you should expect your body to do when it has crossed the threshold into middle age, and don't be caught off guard by the novelties of your four decades and beyond.
Your wrinkles become more pronounced
As we age, our skin becomes thinner, drier, less elastic, and less able to regenerate after damage. By the time we reach our forties, this aging plus wear and tear leads to wrinkles and lines on the skin.
All of that sounds like bad news until you consider the results of a Belgian study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, which found that when "crow's feet" were present, smiles were more authentic, intense, and spontaneous. If you are not influenced by this, you can anticipate wrinkles by using a moisturizer at night, staying properly hydrated and protecting your skin from UV rays with an SPF.
Hair begins to grow in strange places
To our knowledge, there is no study that has shown a connection between ear, nose, back, or chin hair and perceived attractiveness. However, it remains true that both men and women will be more likely to show off hair where there has been none before, often around the age of 40.
Keep in mind that many men's clippers come with ear and nose hair accessories, while a lot of new long-handled razors have recently hit the market. Tweezers are often the best option for wandering chin hair, although if there are more than a few, laser hair removal is something that women are turning to more and more.
Pains appear or more of them
Body wear and tear is, by definition, cumulative. Knowing your limits, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, stretching, meditating, and consulting your doctor when something doesn't feel right are all part of a prescription to reduce some of the novelties of turning 40. You'll find that stress may be making aches and pains worse.
Your hangovers get more intense
All the effects of alcohol amplify with age. This is partly because the liver becomes less efficient as we age and also because people with a higher percentage of body fat and less body water tend to feel the effects of alcohol more strongly than those with greater muscle mass.
Limiting your alcohol intake and having a glass of water between each alcoholic drink are good ways to ensure that you don't find yourself in such a sorry state the day after a night out.
Your teeth become less sensitive
Some good news, if sensitive teeth have been a problem for you in your teens, 20s, or 30s. As you age, more dentin - the hard internal tissue - forms between the enamel and the nerves of your teeth. According to the International Dental Journal, this additional isolation results in a decreased response to pain.
The downside of this is that you are less likely to feel when something goes wrong with your teeth, which means that regular checkups become much more important when you reach 40.
It takes you longer to recover from an injury
Scientists are still not sure why at age 40 you recover more slowly from an injury than before. Some posit that it's something called cellular depletion, others argue that fewer hormonal changes make muscle repair last longer, while some argue that as we age, our body's inflammatory response to injury increases. Of course, it could be a cocktail of all three. When you are injured, anticipate spending more time on rest and recovery than in the past.
Catch fewer colds
By the time we reach 40 years of age, we have been exposed to more cold viruses and have developed immunities, and thus we get sick less often.
Hair loss becomes noticeable for men
According to research, the proportion of men with moderate to extensive hair loss skyrockets for men in their 40s. The study found that while significant hair loss affects 16 percent of men ages 18-29, more than half (53 percent) of men ages 40-49 will look frayed.
There are a growing number of interventions that men can do to slow or stop their hair loss, and some ways are quite effective. Before throwing money at your increasingly exposed dome, consider a study that found that bald men are more socially mature, intelligent, educated, and honest compared to men with a full head of hair.
Hair loss in women
Many women also experience noticeable hair loss in their 40s. An Australian study found that 64.4 percent of women who lived in the city of Maryborough had bitemporal hair loss. One (possible) silver lining is that age-related hair loss in women tends to occur everywhere on the body, which means less hair on the legs, armpit, and pubis.
You sleep less
In a study of 110 healthy adults who were allowed eight hours of sleep, the middle-aged (40 to 55) slept about 23 minutes less than the younger group (20 to 30 years). A simple explanation is that people need less sleep as they age, but the National Sleep Foundation denies this.
On their website they write: “It is a common misconception that sleep needs decrease with age. In fact, research shows that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood. "
It's harder for you to lose weight
You may recall a time when getting back to your best shape required nothing more than cutting bread and sweets for 72 hours. For many of us, losing weight quickly has to be a much more difficult prospect by the time we hit 40, and you probably already know that it is caused by a slowing metabolism.
What many of us forget, however, is that a large part of having a slower metabolism is a direct consequence of decreased muscle mass. Muscles need fuel, which means the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Put on a pound of muscle, and you'll re-fuel your oven and burn an additional 50 calories per day.
That math goes up, meaning that by gaining 10 pounds of muscle, with regular resistance training, and lots of high-quality protein, your body could burn an extra 3,500 extra calories per week.
You realize that you are shorter
People may start to shrink in height as early as their thirties, which means that, at 40, you may start to notice it. According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), men can gradually lose an inch between the ages of 30 to 70, while women can lose about two inches.
Resistance training can help reduce shrinkage while eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can also help keep your bones strong.
A pilot study from UCLA showed that yoga could improve kyphosis, a forward curve of the spine that was originally believed to be an irreversible bone disorder. The researchers found that the study participants who did yoga had straighter spines and had increased height measurements.
Your hair starts to get grayer
As we age, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. What that means is that a hair follicle does not change color, but instead becomes transparent. Typically, Caucasians start to gray in their mid-30s, Asians in their 30s, and African-Americans in their 40s.
For men, there is a literal silver lining. According to a Match.com survey, 72% of women say they find men with gray, silver or "salt and pepper" hair attractive.
Your sense of smell and your taste change
When we are born, we have approximately 9,000 taste buds. But as we age, the number of taste buds decreases. What this means is that your sensitivity to the main flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami) gradually decreases.
Bad news ladies: this usually happens to women 10-20 years earlier than men. Loss of smell and taste is diagnosed by having a patient compare smells or tastes. From this, your doctor can determine the level of loss.
Dental cavities increase
As you get older, your mouth becomes drier. Saliva helps clean teeth and protects the mouth from cavities, which means that at age 40 the chances of cavities increase. Get it back by drinking more water, holding it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. You can also suck on sugarless candy or chew sugarless gum to increase the amount of saliva in your mouth.
Your chances of developing breast cancer increase
In her 30s, a woman's chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer are 1 in 228. Between the ages of 40 and 49, however, that increases to 1 in 69. It is no wonder then that the American Cancer Society and The Mayo Clinic recommend it. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 10-20%; A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, especially carotenoids, has also been shown to help, as well as reducing alcohol consumption.
Studies have shown that results show that women who drink 2-3 alcoholic beverages per day have a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer than non-drinkers.
Your bone density decreases
As we age, we lose bone density, although women are more significantly affected by it. In part, this is due to the fact that women start out with lower bone density than their male counterparts and lose density at a faster rate, around 1% per year beyond the age of 35.
Resistance training can help prevent bone loss. A 1,500 mg daily calcium supplement and adequate vitamin D (think salmon, egg yolks, and sunlight).
Digestive problems are more constant
As we move into middle age, the possibility of indigestion, constipation, diverticulitis, and ulcers increases. A host of age-related factors, including the medications you take and a more sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on healthy digestion.
Your best bet to avoid digestive problems is to drink plenty of water, stay active, load up on fiber, enjoy probiotics, and eat a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables.
You see a decrease in muscle mass
This goes hand in hand with the decrease in testosterone mentioned above. As we age, the ratio of lean mass to fat in our bodies changes, which has all sorts of negative effects on the entire body.
However, you can still build muscle in your 40s and stop that trend and even reverse it. Eat plenty of high-quality protein from organic sources and add more resistance training to your exercise routine.
You sweat less
As we age, our sweat (eccrine) glands shrink and become less sensitive. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that women approaching middle age sweated less than their younger counterparts.
They attributed it to "a diminished response of the sweat glands to central and / or peripheral stimuli" and "an age-related structural alteration in the eccrine glands or surrounding skin cells."
Urinary tract infections become more common for women
Estrogen appears to play a protective role against the bacteria that lead to UTIs, and by 40, your body produces less. A low dose of topical estrogen cream can help, but recurring UTIs are definitely worth discussing with your doctor.
You experience a hearing loss
When we reach 40, our eardrum and inner ear change. Unsurprisingly, this affects your hearing, and since your inner ear controls its balance, it can also be a bit less coordinated.
You start to struggle a bit with holding your urine
Perimenopause means a reduction in the amount of estrogen you produce. With less estrogen in your system, the muscles that support the urethra weaken and make it more vulnerable to leakage. There are several things you can do to avoid unexpected jingle.
These include: avoiding foods and drinks that tend to cause leakage, losing some weight to reduce pressure on the bladder, and doing Kegel exercises. If none of these strategies help, your doctor can suggest what to do.
You experience sleep disruption more often
You may have slept like a log in your 20s and 30s, but in your 40s, men and women are more likely to experience interruptions in their sleep.
Studies have shown that increases in the time it takes to fall asleep (sleep latency), an overall decrease in REM sleep, and an increase in sleep fragmentation (waking up during the night) occur more frequently when we are past forty. To combat the less-than-stellar sleep spectrum, check out 10 tips for your best sleep.
You become more distracted
As a person ages, their ability to ignore distractions worsens, according to research by psychologists at the University of Toronto.
But your libido can increase
In a study of 827 women, psychologist David Buss found that people in their 40s are more interested in being intimate. Buss is an evolutionary psychologist and believes that this increase in female libido could be a biological tactic to increase the chances of childbearing.
He proposes that as women produce fewer eggs, their bodies are wired to become more aroused to increase the likelihood that an egg will be fertilized.
Your brain changes
Another consequence of the female body producing less estrogen during perimenopause is brain chemistry and function. It can lead to being more forgetful because the brain has a harder time organizing its thoughts in a way that is easy to remember. The good news is that, over time, the brain adapts to lower levels of estrogen and compensates for it.
You become lactose intolerant
One of the myriad great things the body does is help your small intestine digest lactose, a disaccharide sugar made up of galactose and glucose found in milk, by producing an enzyme called lactase.
As we age, lactase levels drop, and the lactose we ingest can affect the colon in a less digested state, and the results, well, not as pleasant.
If you think you are developing an intolerance to dairy products, try taking probiotics and experimenting with other sources of milk such as almond, rice, coconut, or cashew milk. You can also take digestive enzymes to help.
Scaly patches of skin may appear
An actinic keratosis (also known as solar keratosis) is a scaly area in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head and face. It is the most common skin condition caused by sun damage - the result of skin damaged by the sun over many years.
They are more common in men, mainly because men are more likely to have outdoor occupations, but are generally not dangerous and only pose a small risk of developing into cancer.
You experience changes in vision
In your 40s, your eyes may need a little help reading fine print and deciphering menus in restaurants by candlelight. Now that you are the age when all of this and more can happen, it's more important than ever to get regular eye exams. Protect your eyes from sun damage with UV protection sunglasses and a healthy diet.
Research suggests that lycopene, the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, may reduce your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts later in life.
Your risk of bad things increases
After age 40, regular checkups and exams are crucial to preventing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, and a host of other illnesses that begin to pose a higher risk.
Yes, we will tell you to eat better, sleep well, reduce stress and exercise more, but we will also tell you to see your doctor more often and seek preventive care.
Exercising regularly can help increase the insulin sensitivity in your body. This means that your body would be more able to utilize the sugar in your bloodstream. Exercising can also help you lose weight. If your blood sugar control is problematic, you must routinely check your sugar levels. This would give you an idea as to how does your body respond to different activities, and this in turn can help you keep your blood sugar levels from going too high or too low.