Life is busy. Between work, teens, and a little enjoyment – who has time for health, right? Wrong – the female body changes at 40 and you need to make sure you’re taking care of it. Here are five common health mistakes women make in their forties and how to stay on track.
Skipping Birth Control
It’s true that your fertility decreases with age. But if you’re sexually active, you need to have a birth control plan. You might start having irregular periods and other changes that are common in the 40-year-old female body that can make it difficult to know when you’re ovulating. But, you don’t want to leave pregnancy to chance.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that you continue contraceptives until your past menopause, which means that you haven’t had a period for 12 months. This could be well into your 50’s for some women.
Relying on Fad Diets
One of the most common female body changes after 40 is related to your weight and body shape. You might notice that your carrying weight in new places and that losing weight is harder than ever. Your metabolism is slowing down and exercise alone just isn’t enough. But, starting on the latest fad diet, just won’t keep up with the changes and is likely one of the biggest health mistakes in your 40’s.
Sleeping Too Little
When you think of being healthy in your forties, do you consider sleep as a primary need? If not, you should. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation reports that you need 7 -9 hours of sleep each night to be productive and ready to tackle your day. The 40-year-old female body has unique biological changes, like your periods, pregnancy, and menopause, which can make sleep even harder to get.
Ignoring the Risk of Diabetes
You might think that all of the changes in your 40-year-old body are related to your hormones. However, some changes can leave your at risk for other conditions, like diabetes. As you age, your risk of developing diabetes increases. Here are some of the risk factors that put you at a higher risk:
- Over the age of 40
- Poor dietary habits
- Inadequate exercise
- High blood pressure
- History of diabetes in your family
- Frequent viral infections
- History of gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Forgetting to Schedule a Mammogram
You’ve been doing self-breast exams for years, but once you hit 40, your risk of breast cancer increases. Mammograms should be part of your yearly preventative health exam. You also need to know your risk factors, which can help you make the best lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of becoming a breast cancer statistic.
Health tips for over 40 women
- Develop an exercise routine that includes both cardio and strength training
- Evaluate your calorie intake to maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a well-balanced, varied diet
- Place your health at the top of your to-do list
- Schedule yearly preventative appointments
- Speak to your doctor about a multivitamin and any other needed supplements
- Notify your doctor of new symptoms
- Keep a list of your medications
- Track your sleep and consider purchasing wearable tech to evaluate the quality of your rest
- Speak with your doctor about your birth-control needs