We all know that aging is inevitable – but how gracefully you age is up to you. Scientific research shows that we can turn back the clock through a targeted regimen of age-busting exercise and nutrition. By exercising for just 30 minutes a day and eating for maximum health and vitality, we can not only build strength, shed extra pounds, improve flexibility and balance, but also look years younger, even after 40.
Everything changes after you turn 40. Your metabolism slows down. Your sugar cravings increase. You begin feeling less energetic. Your appetite for starchy food such as rice, pasta and bread may increase. At the same time your body needs fewer calories to get through the day.
Women often begin having weight problems, undergo mild depression and menstrual irregularities as they turn 40. Most men experience lowered libido, reduced muscle strength, chronic fatigue, and bloated abdomen mainly in their late forties. All these are signs of declining hormone levels and changing metabolism.
One of the main reasons why women over forty gain weight is that their metabolism slows down. They simply don’t burn calories as efficiently as they did a few years ago. Even women who exercise experience weight gain around their abdominal region. The BMR (Basal Metabolic rate) drops by 6% per decade of life. Also, menopause women develop subclinical hypothyroidism which makes it more difficult for them to lose weight post forty.
While no one can stop the passage of time, you can control the damage and the way you look by taking advantage of the benefits of better nutrition.
Diet for Staying fit after 40
There are a number of strategies that can assist an individual to stay fit after 40.
- Include low fat and high fibre foods in your daily diet. Eat more whole grains, dals, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. They provide us with fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which aids in reversing the ageing process while arming us with vital nutrients to fight age-related diseases and disorders.
- Maintaining an adequate calcium intake will help to slow bone loss, so take low-fat dairy products, whole pulses, soybean and black sesame seeds regularly.
- Limit your intake of caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol, as they leach out the much-required calcium from your body. Switch to plain water, soups, vegetable and fruit juices, buttermilk and coconut water for hydrating your systems.
- Zinc is an important mineral after 40, as it is shown to sensitise the tissues to insulin. It also helps minimise sugar cravings and helps to rev up immunity. Most people who gain weight easily in their forties are also those who have uncontrollable sugar cravings. Consuming zinc supplements is helpful, and so is taking good natural sources of zinc like black and white sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Avoid table sugar completely and indulge in the natural goodness of dates, black raisin, fresh fruits and figs.
- Keep your calorie consumption and saturated fat intake low. Restrict intake of excess salt in foods. Reduce intake of animal proteins to not more than once or twice a day. However, try including fish, especially the oily ones like sardines (grilled, steamed or baked) at least 2-3 times in a week to pack in heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.
- Adopting appropriate stress management strategies are beneficial as stress may interfere with the proper functioning of the adrenal glands. Activities such as yoga, meditation, stretching, Tai chi and regular exercise help to relieve built-up tension.
- Taking supplements of antioxidants along with the B-vitamins goes a long way in delaying the aging process.
- Eat adequate protein. Eat at least one egg a day & 1 cup curd, 1 cup dal & 100 to 200 gms of fish, chicken or paneer. Protein helps you to feel full, stops unnecessary hunger pangs & prevents sugar cravings. It also helps boost your immune system.
- Regular weight-bearing exercise, which is done on the feet such as walking, jogging and dancing, is known to slow bone loss. On the other hand, an aerobic exercise, which increases the heart rate, can prove beneficial for maintaining good cardiovascular health and keeping the body’s joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons strong and mobile.
Getting fit and healthy for decades to come after forty is an ongoing process…a journey…Lets begin the journey today!