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4 ways to keep healthy in your 40s

Ditch the diet and start making some simple life changes

A happy couple walking down a ramp and laughing after exercising
A happy couple walking down a ramp and laughing after exercising

Your body goes through some major changes during your 40s, but it’s not all bad. Ladies, your metabolism might be slowing, but your sex drive is on the up and up. And gents? You may be turning into a silver fox, but your immune system has probably never been better.

So, fellow 40-somethings, it’s time to ditch the diet and start making some simple life changes that’ll have you looking and feeling better than ever.

1. Watch what you eat

That old chestnut. We constantly get advice on our diet, and while most of us know that fast food and soft drinks are not the healthiest options, it’s harder to know exactly what should be on the menu.

Try these simple suggestions.

  • Aim for at least two serves of fruit and five serves of veggies each day. For a simple meal that’ll bulk up your vegetable intake, try this 7-ingredient rainbow salad recipe.

  • Choose wholegrains when eating foods such as bread or pasta to help boost your fibre intake.

  • Watch your portion sizes.

  • Try to eat fish a few times a week.

  • Make sure you get enough calcium in your diet. Calcium is important for bone strength, which starts to very gradually decline in your 40s.

Looking to improve your diet? Have no money for fancy ingredients and no time to cook? nib foundation partner No Money No Time has you covered. Take the Healthy Eating Quiz today to see where you can improve your diet and unlock access to personalised recipes from leading Nutrition and Dietetics experts – all without paying a cent!

A man in his 40s laughing and looking up to the ceiling as he stands with a tablet in the kitchen

2. Move your body

Obviously exercise is a good idea at any age, but in your 40s, there are a few things to consider before you don your activewear and pick up a dumbbell.

Make sure you do some weight-bearing exercise (such as jogging, brisk walking, skipping, dancing, soccer, netball or tennis) to help keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. Mix this up with some strength (or resistance) training, which can also improve your bone and muscle strength. Activities like yoga and Pilates can improve strength and flexibility, and help with balance.

Not only will keeping active help keep you fit, but it can also improve any issues you might have with back and neck pain – both common problems among those of us of a more 'seasoned age'.
Struggling to stay motived? Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. The trick is to choose an activity you enjoy – and better still, do it with a friend or neighbour so that it’s harder to say “not today”.

3. Stress less

Relaxation exercises – like yoga, meditation and mindfulness – are great ways to manage your stress levels, but we know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s all about trial and error when it comes to finding a relaxation activity that you enjoy, and it could be as simple as listening to music, reading a book or having a coffee catch-up with a friend.

Our advice? Whatever you do to relax, make sure you switch off the technology around you – that means your phone, computer and TV. Ready to de-stress? Take our Five-day stress less challenge.

4. Vaccinate

Unless you’re planning an overseas trip, the main vaccination that healthy people in their 40s need to think about is the flu jab. Not only does a flu shot reduce your risk of infection, but it can help protect those around you from contracting the flu. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely an infection or disease will be spread.

Under the National Immunisation Program, people classified as "at risk" are eligible for a free flu vaccine, but for everyone else, the cost can range from $10-$25.

Related: Everything you need to know about the flu vaccine

Your 40s can be the best time of your life and focussing on a healthy lifestyle can mean you’ll have the zest to live this decade to its fullest. Someone wise (and probably in their 40s) once said, "Age is not how old you are, but how many years of fun you’ve had".

Is it time for a health cover check-up?

At nib, we’re committed to keeping you at your healthiest, which is why we’ve put together a list of health checks that are important for people in their 40s.

Everyone’s health cover needs are different. To help you understand what level of cover is best suited to you, get in touch with our cover experts today to learn more about what people like you are commonly claiming on and what cover would be the best fit.

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