This year, my wife, Jodi turned forty-two; shhhhhhh! Don't tell her I told you. :-)
I turn forty-five today. Happy Birthday to me!
I have to admit – it’s kind of weird. I’m not saying being in my forties is a bad thing, not at all. It’s just kind of weird.
I guess when we’re younger we tend to think of people in their forties as so old. Then, when we hit the big 4-0 it’s really nothing like we expect. Mentally, I still feel like I’m in my early twenties. And I have to say, I actually feel that good physically, too.
Nope, I’m not messing with you. In fact, I feel better now than I did when I was in my twenties. Jodi feels the same way.
What’s our secret to feeling awesome and healthy after forty?
There are a lot of things we do differently now than we did two decades ago. Today I’m going to share with you my ultimate guide to living your healthiest life ever no matter what your age.
Now, here’s my disclaimer: I’m not a health expert. Shocker, right?
The truth is I’m just an average guy with a background in professional sports who loves trying to find ways to be as healthy as possible. That experience and passion gives me the incentive I need to work out regularly and be as healthy as I possibly can.
But after my hockey career ended, it was my own research that helped me figure out what I needed to change to feel great physically. What I found has given my family and I increased energy and an improved immune system.
I think that’s what you want, too. Am I right? That’s why I’m going to share what I’ve put into practice that has helped me feel awesome at forty-five years old.
Life After 40—What Happens To The Body After We Hit 40?
First of all, let me explain why we need to be more focused on healthy living after we reach forty. We may feel like crazy eighteen-year-olds in our heads (with hopefully a little bit of wisdom from experience thrown in there), but our body doesn’t always feel the same way.
What’s up with that? Don’t worry—it’s not just you, we’re all dealing with it. As we age, our metabolism slows down, muscle mass is lost, and our internal organs actually start to shrink.
The result is weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and not being able to hold your alcohol like you used to. Yep, it’s actually a thing. The UK’s Telegraph states that when we drink enough to have a hangover after forty, we will actually end up with a two-day hangover.
That darn 2nd day!!!!
When the organs shrink, they can’t metabolize alcohol like they used to. That means the alcohol stays in the body even longer—causing over-drinkers an extra day of hangover torture.
But the problem isn’t just with alcohol. The same thing can happen with medications, sugar, and chemicals in our foods. We have to take a stand against the aging process, not to try and stay young forever, but to live a healthy life after forty and beyond.
My Ultimate “Healthy Life After Forty” Guide—4 Steps Toward a Healthier You!
To begin living healthy after forty, try these four steps. My wife and I have implemented them and they’ve totally changed our lives.
Step #1: Doing the Best Workouts for People Your Age
It is so easy to get busy and lose track of time spent working out. I get it!
I feel like most of my time nowadays is spent in the car. Driving my kids to and from their sports events and practices is a great way to spend time with them.
But—wow!—does it take a lot of time out of the day.
It’s so important to stay active, though. The less we move, the more we’ll start feeling our age. That’s just not cool—not when we can feel better physically than the average twenty-something.
But it’s not just enough to keep moving. Have you ever heard the saying “work smarter not harder?” That applies to so many things in life, including our workouts.
To lose weight, keep our weight in check, build strength, and stay in shape we don’t have to do hours of hard-core cardio workouts. The best workouts for people over forty focus on consistency more than anything else.
This is the routine we try to stick to.
Cardio: Cardio workouts are great for keeping the cardiovascular system healthy and strong, but you don’t need to put in long hours on the treadmill. We workout for about thirty minutes, five days a week, and we do HIIT workouts most of the time to make sure we’re making the most of our time and helping build strength.
Weight training is an important part of our routine. We lift two days per week because it helps keep our bones strong. As we age, our muscles can easily become weaker, making it difficult to carry our body weight. This, in addition to weak bones, is why so many elderly people experience life-altering falls.
These are things we want to prevent to the best of our ability. The stronger we are now, the stronger we’ll be in the decades to come.
Another benefit of lifting is improved testosterone levels. Many men deal with erectile dysfunction because our testosterone levels drop the older we get. Instead of having to resort to Viagra, you can keep your love life active with regular weight lifting.
Stretching & Foam Rolling: We do incorporate these types of exercises into our routine once a week. The goal is to keep our muscles flexible and improve balance. Besides losing muscle mass and strength, lack of balance is another cause of falls among the elderly. We’re doing all we can to prevent that, though, and you can, too, with regular stretching.
Step #2: Hydrate Yourself Regularly
Most people aren’t getting enough water. According to some experts, when you start to feel thirsty you can bet that you’re already dehydrated.
Water is vital to every human being, but it’s especially important as we get older. Staying hydrated keeps the skin moisturized and can reduce wrinkles. It’s also necessary to keep the joints well-lubricated. Lubricated joints mean less pain and lower the possibility of getting injured while exercising.
Here are some tips to staying hydrated throughout the day.
Start the day with water. When I get up in the morning, I immediately drink water with lemon and cayenne, or water with lemon and Himalayan salt, or water with lemon, turmeric, cinnamon, and honey. You will be amazed at what this simple step does for your body. It's like a warm, liquid cleanse and it purges you right away. But it also sets up your stomach for what's to come.
Figure out how much water you need to drink. A lot of people are really confused about how much water they’re supposed to drink. I use the Camelbak.com hydration calculator. Drinking the recommended amount has made me feel like I’m hydrating to the proper level.
Step #3: Healthy Living Means Healthy Eating Every Day
You can’t feel your best if you don’t give your body the fuel it needs. And that’s a problem a lot of people have—they don’t view food as the fuel that it is.
The more nutrient-dense foods you eat, the better you will feel. It’s that simple.
Here’s how we incorporate healthy eating into our daily routine:
Choose the right diet. I think a whole foods diet is a great option for most people to try. The less processed foods we eat, the better. Chemicals are crap, and that’s how you’ll feel if you eat a lot of them.
When it comes to my diet, I tend to lean toward a mixture of what works best for me and the family. We try to stick mostly with a whole foods diet, with a little bit of the Bulletproof, Keto, and Mediterranean Diets, as well as a plant-based diet. The Bulletproof Diet is such a simple approach to food; it’s totally easy to wrap your brain around. They even use pictures, which I love (only because I’m a visual learner…it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a kid at heart, nope).
Mixing and matching the things we like best about each of these diet plans allows us to reach our nutritional goals, while not feeling too restricted. Like most people, we’re more likely to stick with something if we don’t feel like it’s too hard. And the variety is great for our taste buds, too. There’s no reason to make yourself miserable—healthy foods can still taste great!
You will notice the effects of eating healthy fats even now. Your focus and problem solving abilities will improve, and you’ll feel more alert.
Which healthy fats should you eat? Incorporate more coconut, olive, and avocado oils into your diet. Snack on nuts and seeds. Personally, I love Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans.
Eat lean proteins. Instead of eating fatty, artery-clogging meat like beef, stick to chicken and fish. And make sure these are organic choices whenever possible.
Eat your greens! You knew I was going to say this, right? Green foods have the micronutrients (the vitamins and minerals) we need to stay healthy after forty. An easy way to get your greens—green smoothies.
How do I incorporate these suggestions? I start my day with lemon water, a green smoothie, two cups of organic coffee and some nuts.
At lunch, I eat leftovers from the night before or make something quick and easy like an omelet with cheese, mushrooms, and avocado. Snacks include almonds or an apple.
At supper, I have a lean protein, lots of vegetables, and sometimes a small amount of a whole carbohydrate. I make sure I do my best not to eat after 8pm, but if I get hungry after dinner, I eat a piece of fruit, popcorn, or corn chips and hummus.
Follow the basics listed above. It doesn't matter what diet you are on, what matters is you are aware of the food you are eating.
Step #4: Food as Medicine
One of the most important keys of living a healthy life after forty is avoiding prescription and over-the-counter meds as much as possible. Now, I get that there are some medications that are vital to a person’s life. But I think those in the Western world take way more medications than they really need.
The result is toxicity and addiction. Instead of trying to mask symptoms, let’s heal the source of the problem.
View food as medicine. Food is natural medicine. The micronutrients in vegetables, fruits, sea vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats can help people heal their body from disease. Dr. Axe provides an outline of the best foods to heal the body.
Supplement your diet as needed. There are some cases when food just isn’t enough. The reason could be diet: vegans aren’t able to get B12 because they don’t eat meat. So, they supplement their diet. Those living in northern climates might not see the sun very often, so they take a vitamin D supplement. We added a D3 supplement this winter and it has made a big difference.
Personally, I supplement with Dr. Mercola’s Joint Formula. My body went through a lot from my hockey playing days. My joints need some extra help, and this supplement makes them function like normal.
Some other important after-forty supplements are:
Magnesium: It gives you energy, helps to reduce blood pressure, helps with sleep, keeps muscles supple and flexible, and bones strong.
2. Green Powder: Sometimes, hard as we try, getting enough greens doesn’t happen. I like to add green powder to my day to make sure I get the nutrients (and energy boost!) I need. And if I end up eating this and reach my green goal for the day – awesome! More energy for me!
3. Zinc: This mineral strengthens the immune system, balances hormones, and may even prevent cancer. It’s an essential supplement for staying healthy and strong as we get older.
Healthy Living after Forty: Age Ain’t Nothin’ but a Number
You don’t have to worry about turning forty, or fifty, or beyond. Healthy living through a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and reducing the amount of medications you take will make you feel physically as young as you feel mentally.
We feel great after incorporating these changes in our life. We’ve come to realize that age really isn’t anything more than a number. We really don't have a choice do we?
As long as you feel healthy, strong, and energetic—who cares how old you are?
I hope you’ll try some of these steps to live a healthy life after forty. I’m positive you’ll feel as awesome as we do!
Are you approaching forty? What steps have you taken to ensure your continued health and happiness? Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I’d love to hear what steps you’ve taken to live a healthy life and to know if you need some extra support.