If you’re going to make proactive changes aimed at staying youthful for as long as possible, somewhere around your 40th birthday is a pretty good time to step up your game. We asked women over 40 how they manage to age gracefully so they can look —but more importantly, feel — their best for decades to come.
1. Lift weights
If you’re only down for Zumba or SoulCycle, you might be missing out. “I recently started doing almost all strength-training, and I feel stronger and younger,” says Sarah, 44.
“It’s something I had planned on doing as I got older and started losing muscle mass, but I wish I’d started in my 30s. It’s the easiest way to control my weight with minimal time commitment.”
She’s onto something: Not only can lifting weights or doing resistance exercise boost your metabolism, but it also may help combat thinning bones (osteoporosis), reduce the risk of dangerous falls, and help conditions like heart disease and diabetes in older adults, according to the Mayo Clinic.
2. Experiment with your beauty routine.
“Since turning 40, I’ve pretty much found it impossible to keep my skin looking good,” says Pam, who just turned 42.
“Since traveling to Asia I’ve adopted a Korean 10-step skin care routine that I swear by. The most impressive product is a facial washing brush I bought in Japan and charcoal soap. I also do weekly sheet masks. I could go on and on.”
If you’re not planning to hop a plane to Asia anytime soon, Pam likes GYUNYU Shizen Gokochi Facial Cleansing Bar Soap, Charcoal and LuLuLun Face Mask Rich Moisture Type 32 Sheets. Learn about some other Korean skincare beauty products that are getting rave reviews stateside.
3. Think about taking a supplement.
Basis by Elysium Health is a supplement that’s been shown to increase NAD+ levels. NAD+ is one of the most important molecules; it’s a prerequisite for life to exist. We need it to create energy, maintain healthy DNA, regulate circadian rhythms, and for hundreds of other cellular processes. However, research shows that we lose NAD+ as we get older and those functions can break down.
Martha, 70 says, “My husband and I started taking Basis for almost a year now and have noticed subtle improvements in our overall energy, sleep and physical well being. We highly recommend Basis to anyone that’s 40 years old and above.”
As with any supplement, always consult your physician, who can make the best recommendation based on your specific needs.
4. Have more sex.
“Whenever people ask me how I look so young, I always answer ‘sex and yoga,'” says Emily, 43. Believe it or not, some research, such as one study published in the BMJ, suggests that having sex frequently might even help you live longer.
Emily also makes self-care a priority: “Doing what you love and making time for what you enjoy — even if it’s sneaking off to a movie by yourself — can make all the difference to your wellbeing.”
5. Consider shaking up your diet.
Intermittent fasting (IF) can be a bit controversial but some studies — like Italian research from the Journal of Translational Medicine — suggest that it. Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition director of the Good Housekeeping Institute says, “There’s no large-scale body of evidence to support the benefits of IF for weight loss versus other plans that emphasize real, whole-foods from mostly plant-based sources,” but this primer will help you decide what the best plan is for you.
6. Cut down on booze (sorry).
“I’m convinced I’m reverse-aging thanks to quitting alcohol,” says Joy, who just turned 41. “I look younger than I did at 35.” For about a decade she had periodically tried to scale back, but her efforts at moderation never stuck. Finally, in January 2017, she decided to go completely dry. Since then, Joy says she’s lost weight, has more energy, and her skin looks better than ever.
While it isn’t necessary for everyone to abstain — some research from the University of Iowa even suggests that a glass or two of vino a day may help you age more slowly — it’s smart not to overdo it.
Excessive amounts of alcohol can dehydrate and damage your skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
“When I drink the amount I’m supposed to — at least eight large glasses a day — I look years younger, feel better, and drop five pounds without trying,” says Chris, 46. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty: It means you’re already somewhat dehydrated, according to Baylor College of Medicine. What’s more, the body’s thirst mechanism tends to become a bit faulty with age, so you might have a harder time realizing that you’re getting parched.
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