40 Life-Changing Habits To Follow After 40
Small changes, huge results.
As you get older, a few things start happening: You get a little more tired, you feel a little more worn down, and you slow down a little bit. But by adopting some healthy daily habits, you’ll still be feeling 30 by the time you’re 60. (Yes, really.) From focusing on what you’re eating to moving your body as much as possible throughout the day, there are plenty of ways you can feel and look your best over 40—and it won’t even take you much effort to change your ways for the better. And for more ways to get your mind and body in shape, memorize the 20 Healthy Living Rules You Should Live By.
Seize the Day Early
It’s tempting to keep pressing snooze until you absolutely have to get out of bed, but why not get up early so you actually have time to enjoy your morning before heading off to work? By preventing yourself from rushing around, you can keep your stress levels down and have a second to relax before your day actually begins. Pro tip: start now by learning the 5 Easy Ways to Become a Morning Workout Machine.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins are a must at any age, even if you think you’re hitting all your bases with what you’re eating. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it’s good to look at those daily pills as an insurance policy against an imperfect diet: You’ll get everything you need to protect your body with minimal effort.
Always Eat Breakfast
Most days it might be easier skipping breakfast than taking the time to make it, but it’s one habit you should stick to: Many studies have shown that first meal is important for your well-being, and 2014 research published in Nutrition Journal in particular even discovered it can play a big role in controlling your cravings throughout the day, helping with weight loss or simply being healthier overall. It’s no surprise that eating breakfast is one of the 13 Tricks For An Instant Energy Boost.
Drink Lemon Water After You Wake Up
It takes about 5 seconds to make a glass of lemon water—and starting your day with it has plenty of benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it aids digestion, protects your body against disease, and gives you a powerful dose of vitamin C and potassium.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
By now you know working out is good for your body—and there are many reasons you should make it a daily habit. Aside from helping you stay in shape, it can also help you feel younger: One 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found people who have high levels of activity actually have younger cells than those who don’t—by a whopping nine years.
Why not make sex a part of you daily routine? Experts say making love not only helps you look young, but it makes you feel really good, too: Because of the endorphins that are released (AKA the body’s feel-good chemicals), you’ll have a natural way to bust stress, anxiety, and help you sleep like a baby all night long. And for ways to truly spice up your life life, consider buying one of these.
Set Aside Time to Meditate
Meditation has been shown time and time again to do wonders for your well-being. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes a day—maybe in the morning before work or before you go to bed at night—to calm down your nerves. And according to the Mayo Clinic, that can result in everything from less anxiety and stress to better sleep and feeling happier overall. Bonus: meditating is also a great body clock hack you can use to maximize your day.
Avoid Processed Foods
Americans eat a lot of processed food—and you’ve probably noticed just how crappy you feel after eating one too many packages of pasta or cans of soup. Make it a habit to eat less from boxes and more plants: When you get those additives, preservatives, and sugars out of your life, you’ll feel more energized, lively, and youthful.
You’ve made washing your face and brushing your teeth every morning a habit, and applying sunscreen belongs in your routine as well—no matter what season it is or what the weather is like outside. By taking some extra time to protect your skin, you’ll prevent wrinkles and dark spots down the road. And do we even need to say that putting sunscreen is one of the top 40 Ways to Guarantee Healthy Skin After 40?
Take a Relaxing Bath
Everyone needs to make time for self-care, and a bath way is a great way to unwind after a long day of work. Grab your favorite bubbles or bath bomb, light some candles, and spend some time lounging in warm water to calm your nerves and ease anxiety.
Write Down What You’re Grateful For
This might seem like a pointless habit—you probably already know what you’re grateful for, after all—but there’s something special about writing it down. Every night before you go to bed, grab your notebook and jot down three things you’re thankful for—and you’ll go to sleep feeling very loved and at ease. Trust us: Being thankful will change your life.
Get Some Sun
Everyone says to stay out of the sun, but there are some perks to getting a little vitamin D. It can be tricky getting the vitamin through foods since it’s not found naturally in many options, but spending a little time soaking up daylight can give you your fix. Plus, according to the Cleveland Clinic, that time outside will also make you feel good, giving you a boost of happiness and energy.
Take the Stairs
It’s always super tempting to take the elevator, but taking the stairs is a habit that can help you out in the long run. Just think: You’ll not only be hitting your daily step goals, but you’ll also build up some muscle over time that you might not have otherwise.
Spend Time Doing a Hobby
When you spend all day working for someone else, it’s nice to devote some time each day to yourself. Whether that’s doing some painting or knitting or maybe reading or doing a crossword, the choice is yours: Just focus on whatever makes you happy and helps
Start Your Day with an Affirmation
Saying “you are powerful” or “you are beautiful” to yourself in the mirror every morning before work might feel funny, but it can do some good. People swear affirmations give them a boost of self-confidence or make them feel more energized and ready to take on the day, so why not give it a try?
Go On a Walk in Nature
Nature has some serious healing powers, and making it a habit to get even 10 minutes outside each day can do you some good. An older study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found a quick outing—whether it’s during your lunch break or when you wake up—can give your energy a boost for up to two hours. And just think if you take a few walk breaks a day.
Drink Water Before Each Meal
Drinking water doesn’t just help you stay hydrated—it’s also great for keeping your hunger levels in check. By drinking a glass of water before every meal, you’ll help your body digest your food better—and make sure you don’t overeat.
Avoid Sugar as Much as Possible
Maybe it’s the sugar you add into your coffee or all the sweet stuff in your granola. Either way, sugar is everywhere and cutting down is a great habit to get into. According to the Cleveland Clinic, experts only recommend 5 teaspoons a day for women and 9 for men—which is a lot less than the 22 daily teaspoons most adults consume. And when you cut it out, you could also reduce everything from acid reflux and migraines to fatigue and anxiety in the process.
Call Someone You Love
Be honest—how many times a week do you actually call your mom? Whether it’s while you’re walking to work or when lounging at home at night, make it a habit to text or call your family to ask them how they’re doing—and let them know you care. The happiness that comes from connecting is a great mental health boost for both parties.
Light Some Candles
Is there anything more relaxing than lighting your favorite candle? Once you get home for the night, let the flicker and aroma from your to-go candle send you straight into relaxation-mode, making you forget about everything negative that happened during the day and help you focus on all the positives.
Take a Workout Class You Love
While hitting the gym is important, so is finding something you really love to do. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, HIIT, or boxing, find a class you’re really into and stick with it. Maybe you’ll even make getting up for early morning classes a habit—who knows.
Eat Mostly Plants
A great habit to get into is making the majority of your diet plants. That means instead of the processed junk, you’re mostly reaching for fruits and veggies and sticking to the produce section at the supermarket. Sure, it’s not as exciting—but with the loads of vitamins and nutrients you’ll be taking in, you’ll be doing a great service for your body—and it will help you stay healthy and feeling fantastic in the process.
Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water
Aside from getting in your lemon water and water before meals, focus on drinking all throughout the day, too: According to the Mayo Clinic, women should be drinking 2.7 liters a day while men should have 3.7. And when you give your body what it needs, you’ll keep all your systems and joints working properly, as well as make sure your body stays hydrated and feeling top-notch. (AKA none of that low-energy, groggy, or tired stuff.)
French women have a major secret when it comes to looking young forever: They moisturize their skin like crazy. And, it should be part of your daily habit too. Grab a kind you love and apply it all over your body, but especially your face, neck, and hands—the areas that show the most aging.
Dress to Impress
Instead of slipping on your go-to outfits every day, take a little extra time to make sure you’re wearing something you love and feel confident in. Because when you make it a habit to look your best, people will notice—and you’ll feel amazing in the process.
Wear Nail Polish
Speaking of dressing to impress, why not make nail polish a habit, too? It’s not only a great time to have a little self-care, but it also has some benefits: A 2006 study from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found polish made participants’ hands appear younger than those who didn’t wear it, and that can be a major confidence booster. Plus, who doesn’t feel happy looking at bright colors on their nails?
Smile as Much as Possible
Turn your frown upside down: Getting in the habit of smiling not only acts as a major mood booster, but it’s also a great anti-ager. A 2016 study published in PLOS One found happy faces are typically seen as younger than frowning or sad faces. So staying positive and flashing your pearly whites once and a while has more benefits than one.
Go to Bed Early
It’s hard heading to bed early—but it’s good for your body. Make it a habit to go to sleep at a certain time every night and you’ll be feeling better than ever: According to the Cleveland Clinic, getting the proper amount of shut-eye will help prevent everything from low energy, drowsiness, and irritability to changes in your personality. Yeah, sleep is serious business.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Eating a healthy diet is easier said than done, but it’s a great habit to have. Making your health a priority is important at any age, and your diet is a great place to focus on: Eat plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—and make sure the majority of your plate is veggies. See? It’s not as hard as it seems.
Stay Active Throughout the Day
It’s probably hard to find a moment to get away from your desk, but making mini breaks throughout the day a habit is a must for your well-being. Having time to stretch and walk around will get your blood flowing, giving you some energy and even a boost of creativity—and that’s not just great for your body, but also for your work.
Wear a Citrusy Scent
Everyone should have their own personal scent, and if you’re still not sure what yours should be, make it citrusy. A 2011 study published in the journal Chemical Senses found making it a habit to spray on a little perfume or cologne every morning can actually make you feel and seem younger—plus, the invigorating scent will also give your energy an instant boost.
Have a Positive Attitude
It pays to have a positive attitude in life: Making it a habit to see the glass half full not only makes your heart healthier and improves your mental well-being, says the Cleveland Clinic, but it also helps you stay younger longer. A 2016 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found being positive about growing old ages you at a slower pace than those who are pessimistic.
Play Music You Love
Music always has a way of getting people in a good mood—so blast the stuff you love to get you energized and ready to take on the day every morning. By making a pre-work playlist to boost your mood before you leave your apartment, you’ll be happier overall, says a 2013 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.
Do Something Good for Someone Else
Whether you buy someone else coffee, give a random person a compliment, or volunteer, doing something good for others on the daily isn’t just great for humanity—it’s good for you, too. Studies have shown all that time being selfless can make you healthier and feel more youthful than those who aren’t as generous.
Do Some Stretches
Nope, stretching on the daily doesn’t mean you’re finally trying to master the splits after all these years. According to Harvard Medical School, it’s actually really important in keeping your body strong and flexible as you age, so make it a habit—even if that’s just while you’re watching TV. Your joints and muscles will thank you.
Drink Some Tea
People have been drinking tea for centuries, and you might want to make it a daily habit too: According to Harvard Medical School, because of all its antioxidants, green tea in particular is regularly associated with better health, making you less likely to develop diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Plus, it’s super soothing—especially on cold winter days.
Have a Glass of Wine—But Don’t Go Crazy
While it’s tempting to have a few glasses of wine every night, you might want to stick to one: According to the Mayo Clinic, too much alcohol can increase your risk of health problems, but having a moderate amount can actually keep you healthy, even reducing your risk of dying from heart disease. If you need any further evidence to indulge in wine, don’t miss the 80 Amazing Benefits of Wine.
Take Some Time Away from Technology
You’re probably staring at a computer all day at work, so the last thing you should do is spend your night glued to technology at home, too. Shut down your laptop, put your phone away, and leave the TV off—at least for a while. By giving yourself that much-needed mental break, you can help calm your nerves, relax your body, and quit making your tired eyes work so hard.
Learn Something New
Yes, every single day. Maybe it’s a new fact about something you’re interested in or even some new words of a different language. Either way, you’ll give your brain a challenge and keep it working hard—because your mind needs exercise just as much as your body does.
Take Some Deep Breaths
Even if you don’t have time to meditate, at least take some deep breaths. According to the Cleveland Clinic, that time focusing on relaxation can help counteract the fight-or-flight response from affecting your well-being. Breathing deeply from your abdomen rather than taking quick and shallow breaths from your chest will help with everything from combatting illness to increasing energy and focus. And this is only one of the 32 Secrets of a Stress-Proof Life.
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