If you want to live a long, healthy life, there are simple steps you can take now to ensure the quantity and quality of your later years, from getting high quality nutrition to staying active and social.
Around the world, people are living longer than ever. But for many, getting older can come with an
While genetics can partially determine the quality of your later years, lifestyle factors can also play a role in aging well.
Middle age is a great time to channel your focus into increasing longevity. Even if you haven’t given it much thought in the past, there are still plenty of ways to add to the quality and number of your days on the planet.
We’ve partnered with Lifeforce to share five major players in healthy aging after 40: nutrition, hormone health, preventive measures, specialized care, and risk monitoring.
Proper nutrition comes with special perks for people of certain ages. Loading up your plate with the right nutrients can help with brain health, muscle health, and skin support for aging gracefully.
A few nutrients to zero in on for longevity include:
- B vitamins
- vitamin D
B vitamin deficiency may link to cardiovascular conditions, neurological conditions, and osteoporosis in older adults, according to a 2019 research review.
Keep your system strong by getting these micronutrients. They’re in:
- leafy greens
- whole grains
B complex vitamins are also a common supplement.
The older you get, the harder it might be for your body to absorb magnesium. So, it’s important to make sure you get enough of this nutrient.
Foods that contain magnesium include:
- dark chocolate
If you think you may be magnesium deficient, talk with your doctor about how to boost this essential mineral.
A 2023 review showed that vitamin D may hold promise for age-related health concerns like a higher risk of autoimmune disorders and low immune function.
You can pull more D into your diet through foods like fortified milk or mushrooms. You can also ask your doctor about supplementation.
Protein may always be a critical nutrient. Muscle mass usually declines as you get older, so protein recommendations for older adults can be higher than for other populations.
A daily intake of
Changing hormones can lead to emotional and physical changes, especially in people assigned female at birth. Hormones can affect focus, sleep, blood pressure, and other aspects of wellness.
Starting now, consider an annual physical to check your hormone levels, allowing you and your doctor to course-correct them if necessary.
Some hormones your doctor may want to check include:
- thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
- luteinizing hormone (LH)
- follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- d ehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
- insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
The Lifeforce Diagnostic is an at-home blood test designed to gather data on 40+ biomarkers that impact your health and longevity, including your metabolic condition, hormone health, and key risk factors for disease. Your diagnostic includes an at-home blood draw from an experienced phlebotomist, a telehealth consultation with a Lifeforce clinician, and a personalized plan that consists of expert insights, lifestyle improvements, nutraceuticals, and hormone and peptide therapies.
Prevention is the name of the game to rack up more candles on your birthday cake.
You can incorporate healthy lifestyle practices that can see you into your later years with greater strength, energy, and brain health.
Three areas to focus on? Exercise, mental fitness, and sound sleep.
You don’t have to run a marathon at 70 to stay fit as you get older.
Pro tip: Find exercise you genuinely enjoy and make it a habit.
Staying mentally active is great for your long-term brain health, and it can even be fun!
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, activities like picking up a hobby, reading thought-provoking books, and playing games of strategy can all keep your mind sharp.
Can you sleep your way to a longer life? Research shows this may be the case.
In a 2023 study involving around 172,000 people, those with the highest quality sleep measures lived significantly longer: 4.7 years for men and 2.4 years for women.
For deeper nighttime rest, try sticking to a regular sleep routine, avoiding heavy caffeine and alcohol intake, and turning off devices at least an hour before bed.
As you stick to these healthy lifestyle habits, try to keep an annual medical physical on the calendar. It can give you a baseline sense of your health with tests like:
- complete blood count (CBC)
- hemoglobin (HGB)
- hematocrit (HCT)
- blood platelet count (BPC)
- alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
In addition to attending regular appointments with your primary care physician, now’s the time to contact your roster of medical specialists, too.
Depending on your personal medical and family history, it may be more important for you to contact certain doctors more frequently.
For example, if you have known risk factors for heart disease, an annual checkup with a cardiologist can be a good idea starting in middle age or earlier. People with a family history of skin cancer, on the other hand, can consider receiving annual screenings from a dermatologist.
Ask your primary care physician about which health screenings make sense for you. Knowing where you stand in each area of your health can give you peace of mind and help direct your prevention efforts for longevity.
Whenever you contact your doctor, be sure to speak up if there are specific risk factors you’d like to keep an eye on. It may be a good idea to gather any family history so your doctor can test accordingly.
Even if you haven’t kept tabs on your blood work in the past or don’t have much information on familial risk factors, certain blood markers can help paint the big picture of your health.
- inflammatory markers, like high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
- cholesterol, including apolipoprotein B (ApoB) and lipoprotein A (ApoA)
- blood sugar (hemoglobin A1C)
- tumor markers, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer or calcitonin for thyroid cancer
There’s no miracle elixir or fountain of youth to guarantee a graceful, easy experience in the later years — and of course, there are plenty of factors you can’t control as you get older.
But taking steps to extend your years can boost your life satisfaction in the here and now. As you upgrade your health through simple, everyday choices, you may look and feel your best today and in the future.