Are you looking at the big 4-0? Even if you aren’t excited about your day, we want to say Happy Birthday. Don’t worry about feeling nervous about turning 40. Maybe you are unsure what to expect and want to learn how to keep your body in the best shape possible as you go through midlife. Keep reading to learn more about the health challenges that can become more prevalent after 40 and what you can do to alleviate them. And please, try to celebrate even a little bit. Why? Because when you stop having birthdays, well, you know…
70. Your Cells Start to Decline
Have you ever heard of Age Associated Cellular Decline? It starts in your 40s and accelerates as you age into the 60s and beyond. It occurs because the mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – begins to decline. As a result, it impacts the cells’ ability to perform at peak, optimal levels. If you are constantly fatigued or have a weaker immune system, this might be the reason as it impairs the function of your tissues and organs. Luckily, research shows you can exercise to help slow this process.
Okay, you didn’t just turn 70, so what’s the big idea? According to Harvard Medical School, you start to lose about a centimeter in height during your fourth decade in life. By the time you hit 50, consider yourself shorter. You will most likely continue to shrink at the same rate every decade. Why? Because the bone density in your spine lessens and the disks wear out, resulting in a shorter stature. Are you already shrinking? Or perhaps at a faster rate? You may want to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis.
Maybe not in your 40s, but definitely in your 50s! You will notice your ears start to grow as you age. In fact, it can be at a steady 0.22 millimeters per year. Why? Because you are losing elasticity in your skin. How do we know all of this strange stuff? A 1993 UK study of more than 200 patients, discovered just that. Don’t worry about your lovely ears, though! If it bothers you that much, you can get a lobe job to tighten the skin.
Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss and weakness, is a fact of life. Harvard research reveals that you can experience age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia. Men start losing muscle mass in their 30s, resulting in about three to five percent decrease of muscle mass each decade. However, you may not notice the change until you hit 40. If you want to stay fit, try progressive resistance training, or PRT. You can gradually increase your workout intensity this way and avoid any injury.
As soon as you hit 40 years old, both men and women experience a decline in hormones for the next decade or so. As testosterone and estrogen decrease around the age of 40, you will notice a slew of changes that happen to your body and mood. We cover a bunch in this epic list. However, just to briefly name a few, you can look forward to brain fog, low libido, lack of motivation, and more. The best thing to do is to make changes to your daily routine and diet to help cope with the differences.
As you age, you might not care as much, and that’s a good thing! Not to say you won’t have friends and family you think of and spend time with. No. This new 40-year-old trait allows you to focus on you instead of everything and everyone else. That goes double for your career, kids, and so on. Hopefully, you can stop worrying as much and embrace what’s to come. Love and accept yourself, especially on your 40th birthday. That way, you also will become less self-conscious, even if it takes a bit of work.
64. You’ll Be Able To Handle Your “Annoying” Traits
Some “annoying” traits, like perfectionism, can be held in check as you get older. Clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow explains that by the time you are in your 40s, you will be able to accept the traits that others may find annoying. From perfectionism to pickiness, you should embrace your quirky habits as you keep them more in check as you age. Why? Because you were probably focused on making things perfect before, but now you realize you only need to apply these flaws – er – traits when it really matters.
No, your nose isn’t growing as you age (unless you are still telling silly lies!). As you age, your nose can sag, and change shape or appear different. Similar to other parts of the body, your skin is sagging because the collagen and elastin fibers in the cartilage are breaking down. According to a University of Milan study, men’s noses increase in volume by an average of nearly 20 percent between the ages of 18-30 and 65-80. Women’s noses change by about 18 percent throughout their decades of life.
As you age, your metabolism slows down, meaning that you cannot burn calories as quickly as you did when you were younger. You could probably blow right through a fast food meal when you were a kid and not feel anything the next day. When you hit 40, especially in the decades beyond, you need to take weight management very seriously. Make sure that you exercise regularly and fill your plate with fruits and vegetables instead of meat and carbs. Being overweight or obese sets you up for a host of chronic health problems.
Many people start getting gray hair long before their fortieth birthday. If you are one of the lucky few who has not seen any grays by the time you are thirty nine and a half, they will start coming up soon! Gray hairs are nothing to worry about; they are the natural product of your body, producing less melanin than it did when you were younger. The worst part of gray hair is feeling that you look old (you are). You can wear your gray hairs proudly or cover them up with some simple hair dye.
Along with gray hair comes the dreaded thinning of the crown on top of your head. Male-pattern baldness can start setting in during the twenties, but with women, thinning is more common to begin in the forties. About forty percent of women will notice that their hair is getting thinner before reaching their fiftieth birthday. The biggest reason is that while you will continue to lose hair at the normal rate of about 50 to 100 strands per day, it will not regrow as quickly as before.
Sure, we all want to be accepted and liked to a certain degree as human beings. However, remember when you cared about your popularity? And we are talking past high school. There might have been a point in your life where you had an intense desire to be perfect. Think about it: did you go to a party without makeup? Heck no! When you hit 40, you don’t care as much about going with the crowd or what people think. Besides, you couldn’t keep up with the newest trends every other week anyway. Go to the grocery store in sweats and a ponytail, please.
Suppose you have a family history of diseases such as breast cancer, diabetes, colon cancer, osteoporosis, or other chronic conditions. In that case, you probably need to begin getting tested for them when you are in your twenties or thirties. By the time you hit forty, there are some tests that you will have to begin getting done regularly. These include colonoscopies, mammograms and Pap smears for females, and prostate checks for males. None of these tests is pleasant, and you would probably just as soon go without them. Nevertheless, remember that getting a Pap smear is less invasive than dealing with cervical cancer.
The older you get, the less your immune system will be able to cope with the challenges of the germs that you encounter in daily life. Around mid-life, you will start getting sicker more often, and possibly more severely, than when you were in your twenties and thirties. If you already deal with chronic illness, do what you can to get it under control before your fortieth birthday. Start getting in the habit of getting your flu shot because the disease will take more of a toll on your body. Furthermore, get regular screenings for common conditions to be detected before they become life-inhibiting.
As you age, you may feel more introverted. Maybe you were that way all along, and you accept keeping to yourself. On the other hand, maybe you prefer the peace and quiet more after you turn 40. In your teens and 20s, it is all about socialization but as you grow older, you can stay home – even on the weekends – and really enjoy it. That goes double if you were hauling kids round through the majority of your 30s, too. So if you notice your extrovert sense of spirit is drifting, don’t worry. Welcome the peace.
Chances are good you had a set of core values when you were 39 years old, too. Nevertheless, as you age, you learn more about what is really important, and certain things can change as you age. Maybe something you really cared about in your 20s isn’t a big deal in your 40s. Or vice-versa. If you change and reprioritize your core values later in life, that’s okay. Don’t be surprised if those around you who are the same age do the same.
Menopause usually begins in a person’s fifties, and perimenopause can start in the mid-forties, usually in the same year that a woman undergoes her last menstrual period. You may begin experiencing some of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes; these symptoms happen because your body produces less estrogen. If you are 40, you schedule your yearly doctor exam and talk about perimenopause and what you can begin doing to prepare for it. Your doctor may recommend getting more calcium and taking supplements to prevent bone loss.
Anyone can experience problems with their heart. Even children have been known to experience heart attacks, though the condition is extremely rare. While risk factors for heart disease can be present long before your fortieth birthday, and while you may have even experienced heart disease, the risk for developing heart disease shoots up after you turn 40. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of a heart attack, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain, and make sure that you immediately call 911 for those symptoms. Take heart health seriously by managing your blood pressure, eating right, and exercising.
As you age, your bones begin to lose mass and density, making you susceptible to a host of problems. Your bones may break more easily, especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis. Females, in particular, may actually begin to shrink due to the decrease in bone mass and density, especially once they hit menopause. If you are concerned about bone loss, check in with your doctor and see if you can get tested for risk factors before bone loss becomes too severe. And make sure that you get plenty of calcium and vitamin D in your diet, if not by eating dairy, then through other sources.
Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing, and your body wakes itself up to restart your breathing. You may not be aware that you are constantly waking up because you are not entering full consciousness, but you may feel more and more fatigued despite feeling like you should have gotten enough sleep. If you are experiencing chronic fatigue despite sleeping on a regular schedule, or if you are having difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, check in with your doctor. They may test you for sleep apnea, a very treatable condition.
All of this change may make you feel a bit woozy. Don’t worry; let’s talk about the Myer Briggs personality test. If you take the test now, and then a decade later, your results will be very similar. Why? Because even though your personality may shift from life experiences, your preferences usually don’t. Maybe you were an extreme introvert as a kid, and you still are now, but lean more to the extroverted side because of school and jobs.
By the time you are 40, chances are good you will be ready to try some new things. Perhaps you were nervous as a young adult, rejecting change and adventure. As you grow, you won’t fear challenges, and may even make an effort to change. With an open mind, you can try new activities, foods, and ideas. It’s not like you will be a new person overnight, but don’t feel bad expanding your mind to enjoy life and accept more.
48. You Are At An Increased Risk For Developing Diabetes
If you were not diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child, you would never develop it. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition in which children cannot process insulin the way they should, and the condition persists throughout life. Once you cross your fortieth birthday, you are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is more often associated with a poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. Overeating sugar over a long period of time causes insulin resistance, which can ultimately turn into type 2 diabetes. Watch how much sugar you eat and check-in with your doctor to get tested for type 2 diabetes.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons that connect muscle to bone. You may be familiar with the terms tennis elbow, trigger finger, and jumper knee, all of which refer to tendonitis in joints that may be regularly overused. The condition is most common in athletes and adults over the age of 40 because it usually develops from overuse. Chronic conditions, such as inflammation, diabetes, and arthritis, can increase the risk of developing tendonitis. Chronic pain, which could be tendonitis, is always something you want to have a doctor examine before you end up in the emergency room.
Insomnia is not the lack of desire to sleep so much as it is the inability to sleep. As you age, especially after you cross your fortieth birthday, you may find that you have a more challenging time falling asleep and staying asleep. The result can be depression, anxiety, and worsening medical conditions that may already exist. Make sure that sleep is a priority. Turn off electronics an hour before bed. Don’t drink caffeine after noon, even for that mid-afternoon slump. Take care of your emotions because when they are running haywire, you may have many problems falling asleep.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. There are both genetic and environmental causes for high blood pressure, including poor diet, lack of exercise, and insufficient sleep. Age is also a factor, as blood pressure tends to tick up after someone hits their fortieth birthday. You can check your blood pressure regularly by using a cuff that may be available for free use at your local pharmacy. Yearly check-ins with your doctor can also detect if those numbers are creeping up, and your doctor can advise you on lifestyle choices that can keep your blood pressure under control.
Usually, a person in their forties is transitioning from raising children to focusing more on relationships with family and close friends. This transition period can be difficult for some people, especially when their lives are consumed by their children who have recently flown the coop. The good news is that on the other side of this transition, relationships later in life tend to be so much more fulfilling and rewarding because people are more willing to drop the toxic relationships and focus on things that really matter.
After you pass your fortieth birthday, you may begin to develop age-related hearing loss because your eardrum is weakening. One out of every three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has experienced hearing loss. Why? Because of both hereditary and environmental factors. While you cannot prevent the genetic factors (though you can schedule regular appointments with your doctor to talk about concerns), you can reduce the environmental factors. Limit your exposure to loud noises, and if you have to be around something loud, wear earplugs.
Cholesterol levels indicate your risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure (which can lead to kidney problems, stroke, and heart attack). In fact, one decade of high cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease by nearly 40%! The long-term implications of high cholesterol are huge, so make sure you have your doctor check your cholesterol levels regularly after you are 40. A healthy diet can keep your cholesterol levels in check, but those numbers can begin to increase around the age of 35 and especially in your forties.
Why are you experiencing all of these personality changes in your 40s? It’s bad enough you are dealing with body issues. Well, as you age, major life events happen. And while your personality traits seem to stick, certain events can affect you more than others. For example, a large move, marriage, and parenting have already begun to shape your life. These extra responsibilities can change your perspective or personality. Likewise, a sickness or death will have an impact on how you feel in your 40s as well.
According to the British Medical Journal, as you age, your cognitive reasoning skills begin to decline. Starting in your 40s, it can decline by 3.6 percent according to the article publication. This will actually continue well into your 50s as well. It is essential to nourish your body, including your brain when you turn 40, and from then onward. You can also exercise your brain with word games and other tricks to help beat memory loss and Alzheimer’s. In fact, you don’t’ have to wait to turn 40 to start focusing on brain health.
Women, in particular, are susceptible to mid-life spread or those extra pounds that can come on quickly after you pass your fortieth birthday. One significant reason is the hormonal changes that begin to happen in the years before menopause sets in. However, there are other reasons why the numbers on the scale may be moving in the wrong direction, including lifestyle choices. Your diet matters even more after you hit 40; you just cannot eat as many milkshakes as you could when you were a teenager and expect not to experience the consequences! Regular exercise is also vital in keeping the pounds off.
Have you ever noticed that as women get older, their voices get deeper, while their voices may actually get higher when men get older? It’s like reverse puberty! The reason is that after your fortieth birthday, your vocal cords will begin to change. They may become less flexible, begin to atrophy, and even dry out. The result changes the pitch of your voice. Add to that the hormonal changes that women experience during menopause, and if you are a woman, you are guaranteed to notice changes. Your voice may also become weaker and less predictable.
Sunspots, also called liver spots or age spots by some people, refer to the discoloration in your skin that may begin to appear, especially after the age of 40. The reason is simply that you have a lifetime of exposure to the sun, but your skin is producing less melanin. Irregular sunspots are a cause for concern, as they could indicate skin cancer. Check in with your doctor to get a biopsy if you notice sunspots growing in size or irregular in shape.
Skin cancer is possibly the most easily diagnosed form of cancer because it is easy to spot. With colon cancer, you may need a colonoscopy, which is a pretty invasive procedure, to spot it, and with cervical cancer, you may need an invasive Pap smear. With skin cancer, you mostly need to check and see if irregular spots appear on your skin and then head to your doctor for a biopsy. While environmental and hereditary factors contribute to developing skin cancer, age also plays a risk. After 40, you need to be checking yourself for spots.
Many people in their forties, if they did not have to wear corrective lenses at a younger age, find that they are picking up readers at the local drugstore. As you age, you begin experiencing eye strain more easily, and the result is that things start to look a bit blurry. If you are concerned about the health of your eyes, make an appointment with an optometrist. Optometrists do more than determine your glasses prescription; they identify problems in your eyes and treat them.
As you age to 40, the nerves in your teeth may begin to shrink, causing you to have less sensitivity to things that may have given you problems in the past. Frozen treats may have been a problem in the past, but once you hit 40, you may find that you can enjoy them with ease. However, be aware that decreased tooth sensitivity comes at a cost. You will also be less likely to notice pain that could be associated with cavities and other dental problems. Regular check-ins with your dentist, including cleanings twice per year, can ensure that these problems do not go unnoticed until too late.
Sarcopenia is the scientific term for muscle loss, and it begins around the age of 30. By the time you are 50, you may begin noticing that you are experiencing muscle loss, with the most common symptoms being weakness, fatigue, and brain fog. Your muscles also won’t recover as quickly as they once did after a workout, so you may have to give your body more TLC. You can help alleviate this problem by working out regularly. But may sure that you do not overdo the exercise because your body is more susceptible to injury once you pass your fortieth birthday.
Overactive bladder, or constantly having the urge to urinate throughout the day, is especially prevalent in people over the age of 40. As you age, the walls of your bladder thicken, the nerves do not work as well, and the muscles that help control your urination may begin losing functionality. The result is more trips to the bathroom, and, yes, you may start peeing in your pants. Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who can teach you pelvic floor exercises that will help you control your bladder better.
An estimated four million people experience ulcers every year, and most of these are not severe – unless they break through the stomach wall, which causes a medical emergency that can be life-threatening. There are genetic risk factors for developing ulcers, and the food you also eat matters. Taking many painkillers, drinking too much coffee and alcohol, and smoking are all unhealthy habits. If you have persistent stomach pain, don’t ignore it; get checked for ulcers. If you have ulcers are at risk of ulcers, stop smoking immediately, lower your alcohol and coffee consumption, and limit your use of painkillers.
Your brain continues developing until your early- to mid-twenties, at which point you finally become a mature adult capable of handling life’s problems, right? Maybe not because as quickly as your brain finishes maturing, it actually begins to decay. The effects are not felt until your mid-forties, though, when you may start to lose the ability to reason. The changes in your brain happen so slowly that you may not notice them for a long time. Adopt a diet to promote brain health by eating foods high in good fats and low in simple carbs.
If you or someone you know has ever had kidney stones, you are probably aware that the pain is greater than that of a woman in labor. The bad news is that after your fortieth birthday, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones. They can be an inch or greater than diameter, and the bigger they are, the more painful they are to pass. The greatest risk factor for developing kidney stones is dehydration, so make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid this agonizing health ailment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition where people may experience chronic pain and tingling in their fingers. Repeated wrist movements, such as typing for long periods of time, can exacerbate other risk factors for developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Experts say you can get the condition at any point in life but are at the most significant risk after passing your fortieth birthday. If you are experiencing pain in your hands, check in with your doctor because interventions that are done early tend to be much more effective than those done later.
There are so many life changes that occur around your fortieth birthday that you should not be surprised if you begin experiencing depression, even if you have never had it before in your life. Your financial and family obligations can start to weigh you down, especially as your kids are growing and you are having to begin caring for aging parents. Your relationships are changing. You may be going through a mid-life crisis. Your body is changing in ways that may be irreversible. Of course, your mood will be affected! Depression is very treatable. However, if you leave it untreated, depression can severely affect your health.
There is a myth that food allergies are always present in childhood. Not true! You can develop an allergy to your favorite food at any time in your life, even in your forties. If you are experiencing symptoms regularly after eating a particular food, make an appointment with an allergist to see if you have developed a new food allergy. Keep in mind that an allergy is not the same thing as an intolerance. You can be lactose intolerant, meaning dairy gives you an upset stomach without being allergic to milk.
Around the age of 40, your bones may begin to demineralize, and one effect of that is that the roots of your teeth can start to recede. The result is that your gums may begin to decay. To prevent this problem from happening to you, make sure that you schedule regular visits with your dentist instead of waiting to notice the signs of gum disease or other issues with your teeth. And you have heard this probably more times than you can count, but make sure that you brush your teeth at least twice per day with fluoride-based toothpaste and floss your teeth daily.
When women reach perimenopause in their mid-forties, the number of eggs that they produce decreases dramatically. If you are 45 and trying to conceive, the odds are that you will not be successful, and infertility ultimately sets in about 5 to 10 years before menopause. If you want to become a mother by having a biological child (adopting a child can remain a viable option after the age of 45), you will need to check that item off of your list around your fortieth birthday, if not sooner. On the other hand, men can continue fathering children for pretty much the rest of their lives.
23. You Can’t Handle Your Liquor Like You Once Could
As you age to 40, your liver will actually begin losing its toughness and will not be able to metabolize alcohol as quickly as when you were in your twenties. You will start feeling drunk after fewer drinks, and hangovers will be much worse. If you have hit your fortieth birthday, the time has come to stop partying like you just turned 21. Limit the alcohol to one or two drinks per day, and stop drinking to get drunk. Your body just cannot handle the alcohol anymore.
You may have thought that only kids develop asthma, but did you know that you can still get asthma in your forties? Adult-onset asthma can be challenging to diagnose because of the constellation of symptoms surrounding it. Dry cough, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath can all be warning signs of adult-onset asthma. Your risk factors increase if you have childhood asthma (it may have resolved in your twenties but could relapse), are overweight or obese, and/or live in an area with a high level of pollution. If you think you may have adult-onset asthma, talk with your doctor.
Cancer can develop at any time in your life, including while you are still in your mother’s womb. Nevertheless, one of the biggest risk factors for cancer is age, and as you age, you will be at increased risk for developing all kinds of cancers. Regular testing, such as colonoscopies, mammograms, Pap smears and prostate checks are your friend here in helping detect cancer early. If you have not prioritized a healthy lifestyle before now, start filling up on fruits and vegetables instead of meat, sugar, and starches. Get plenty of exercise, reduce your stress level, and prioritize the most meaningful relationships in your life.
As you age to 40, your taste buds become less sensitive, so your favorite foods may no longer have the kick that you once found so satisfying. And because taste is so connected to smell, both senses will begin to go down. The loss in taste is especially more felt in people with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. You may be tempted to use more salt or eat more sweets, both of which are pretty bad for your health all around. You may need to adjust the foods you are eating to experience their taste without adding salt and sugar.
If you thought that getting older was a drag, consider this benefit: you may actually become more resistant to the common cold! You have already had so much exposure to colds throughout the past four decades that your body has built up immunity to it. So you will be able to go to family gatherings with all of the kids and might not leave with the cold that you had when you were in your twenties or thirties. Eating healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables instead of animal products and sweets, can also help.
Brain fog is that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to think clearly, remember details, or stay focused on what you are working on. You have probably experienced bouts of brain fog throughout your life, but once you hit 40, hormonal changes can cause it to worsen and happen more frequently. You will be especially prone to brain fog if you are overly stressed, depressed, sleep-deprived, or experiencing a blood-sugar imbalance. If you are experiencing brain fog frequently, check in with your doctor and see if you can find the source of it.
A stroke occurs when part of the blood supply to your brain is cut off. About 30 to 120 out of every 100,000 Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 experience a stroke each year, and the risk factor increases with age. One of the greatest risk factors for stroke is high blood pressure, and the good news is that this condition can be mitigated and sometimes even resolved through lifestyle changes alone. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day, reduce your consumption of animal-based products (you do not have to become a vegan, but significantly lower how many cow-based products you are eating), and get regular exercise.
This point applies to women in particular. Few people enjoy sweating, making them feel sticky and may cause unpleasant odors. However, sweating is a significant body function to help you cool off when you are overheated and release toxins that can build up in your body. As you get older, you may begin to sweat less because of changes to your sweat glands. In fact, a study has shown that postmenopausal women secreted much less following a workout than younger women. While you may appreciate not sweating so much, be aware that not sweating puts you at an increased risk for heatstroke.
That luscious mane of your twenties could begin to weaken after you hit your forties. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to maintain the health of your hair in your forties. Wash your hair and scalp regularly with shampoo that contains fatty acids to help retain moisture. Eat lots of green, leafy vegetables, healthy fats, and plenty of protein. Green leafy vegetables have the B vitamins that your hair needs to remain healthy, and much of your hair is actually made of protein!
One natural byproduct of aging is that the cartilage in your joints begins to wear down, potentially leading to osteoarthritis and all of the aches and pains that go with it. This breakdown in cartilage can be exacerbated by hormone imbalances, chronic inflammation, and obesity. Your diet can play a huge role in alleviating the aches and pains that come with aging. Eat non-acidic foods, limit your meat consumption, and dramatically cut down on salt and sugar. You may also want to check in with your doctor to see about supplements that can help with cartilage repair.
The elasticity in your skin allows it to snap back quickly after it is pulled in one direction or another. Once you are in your forties, you will begin to see fine lines and wrinkles appear because your skin is not as elastic as it once was. You will need to start adjusting your skin care regimen by focusing on moisturizing your skin more than you did before. Also, make sure that you are eating for healthy skin by prioritizing plant-based products that will give your skin that sought-after glow.
A urinary tract infection, otherwise known as a UTI, can develop at any age, even in infancy, but these dreaded infections become much more common with age. As the muscles in your bladder weaken, you may find that you are having trouble emptying your bladder completely. This creates a considerable risk factor for a UTI, as bacteria can begin to build up inside your bladder instead of being excreted when you need to pee. Don’t try to hold it and go to the bathroom whenever you feel the urge to urinate. Even if you are in a hurry, try to empty your bladder completely.
People between the ages of 30 to 50 are at the highest risk of developing a herniated disc in their spines. The result is radiating pain throughout the back, buttocks, and thighs. Lower back pain becomes especially common at the time of your fortieth birthday. The good news is that there is plenty that you can do to help alleviate the problem. Physical therapy can help build muscles that will protect your back. Swimming regularly is a great way to get exercise without straining your back. Check with your doctor for ways to help deal with back pain without becoming dependent on painkillers.
Having goals is important, and achieving them is equally essential. You should ‘never give up’ on something you really want. However, as you hit 40, and thereafter, don’t be surprised if you are okay with taking a more relaxed approach to getting what you want. Your dreams are still important, but don’t deny that as you get older, you have less energy and big dreams seem more out of reach as you age. Don’t feel guilty to go with the flow and settle for something else, even if you did have a plan in mind since you were 10. Just try to seek an alternate route that still satisfies you in the meantime.
9. Your “Weird” Personality Traits May Become More Exaggerated
You probably thought that quirky habit was just a random thing when you were younger, but you will notice that you have specific traits that shine through by the time you turn 40. It’s not like you are changing overnight, or purposely doing something extra. You just get more comfortable as you age, and don’t mind pronouncing yourself instead of concealing anything. Say goodbye to insecurities and let go of the fear of judgment you had in your 20s and say hello to the quirky 40s.
There is a double whammy here, especially for women. The hair on your head will begin thinning, and you will notice more hair on your face. And not only are you seeing more hair, but it is thicker and darker than face hairs that may have appeared in your twenties or thirties. Blame changing hormones for the extra time you will have to spend tweezing or going to the beauty salon (not unlike the facial hair that can appear during pregnancy due to hormones). Experts recommend laser hair removal, and there are plenty of devices you can buy and use at home.
As you age to 40, your muscles naturally begin to weaken. Unfortunately, the muscles in your digestive tract can easily fall victim to muscle weakness, leading to digestive problems that include irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, and peptic ulcers. You can help alleviate the muscle loss and ensuing uncomfortable conditions by eating healthy foods with plenty of fiber (not just taking fiber supplements) and getting plenty of exercise. If you are experiencing bowel discomfort, check-in with your doctor to see if there may be something that you can do. You may need to get a colonoscopy, which is something that you will have to start anyway as you age.
Lactose intolerance is another one of those conditions that can develop at any age, but many people associate it with children. Adult-onset lactose intolerance is not uncommon, and its prevalence actually increases the older you get. If eating dairy gives you a stomachache and maybe sends you running for the bathroom, there is a good chance that you have developed lactose intolerance. The condition is easily managed with dietary adjustments, such as using plant-based milk (which on the whole is healthier than cow’s milk) and dairy-free sorbet instead of ice cream.
5. You Can Choose How To Respond to Situations with Confidence
Not every situation even deserves a response, and you will learn that as you age. However, you can also choose how you want to respond when the time is right. If you were a dramatic teen or reactive young adult, you may notice your habits slowly shifting as you turn 40. By that age, you will learn yourself, how you are programmed, and how to control it. Refine your personality, as complex as it is, and allow it to shine when appropriate.
What’s acceptable, appropriate, and even legal may change as you age. Things that were funny in your 20s may be not-so-silly in your 40s. Your life experiences will change the way you engage with the world. As you encounter that change, your ideas will likely develop and entertain new concepts you never considered before. Sharon Podobnik Peterson describes this stance perfectly. She is the founder of the self-help book subscription box GoLoveYourself.
Remember how we said you won’t care as much as you age, and that’s a good thing? This carefree attitude will help you handle stress better. As things happen, you won’t be as bothered, and can probably just let it go. Something that would cause an emotional response in your 20s may be nothing more but a causal conservation in your 40s. Plus, when serious things do happen, like the loss of a job or a death in the family, you will be ready to cope in a mature way.
Muscular atrophy, or weakening of your muscles, commonly happens as you get older. You can avoid much of that atrophy by going to the gym regularly or getting a daily walk, but some of it occurs in places where you cannot do much about it. Take your throat, for example. You cannot exercise your throat at the gym, and as those muscles weaken, you may begin to experience difficulty swallowing. Your reflexes may have difficulty determining if you are swallowing a solid or a liquid, and you may start experiencing some discomfort when eating and drinking.
Again, this age-related change is more common in women and is heavily associated with hormonal changes around perimenopause. Another reason you may experience a decrease in libido is the mounting stress that tends to build up around the age of forty. You are no longer young and dumb and have to consider things that you may not have realized before. Alternatively, maybe you just have so many responsibilities now that you did not once have that you just lose interest. Stress management can help here and many other age-related health conditions that tend to set in around the age of 40.