40 is a big milestone. Not only is it a halfway milestone for most careers, but it also means that you’ve lived halfway through your life.

Your body shows signs of aging which should not be ignored. They may be signs of deteriorating health or diseases.

• Common aging sign in the 40s

In the 40’s hair starts turning grey (1). Metabolism slows down, which causes irregular dietary patterns and as a result weight gain. Bones start to become weak, increasing the chances of bone diseases. Reflexes and movement may become slower in the 40s. Some people experience backaches when they enter their forties. Sleeping may not be as easy as it used to be.

• Physiological changes with age

The body starts losing its lean muscles. Body organs like the liver and kidneys start losing some of their cells. This causes weakness, morbidity, and disability.
In the 40s and beyond, due to changes in bones, muscle and joints the body loses about half an inch height every 10 years. (3)
Aging results in a decrease in cardiac output, increased blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. The lung’s gas exchange is impaired and expiratory flows slow down. Changes in collagen and elastin result in changed skin tone and loss of skin elasticity. (4)

• Molecular changes with age

In the 40s, the cortex starts to shrink as a result, people find it hard to remember things or multitask. Neurons undergo atrophy and dendritic loss is noticed. (5)
Dysregulated gene expression and accumulated molecular damage are common factors in aging. (6)

Time-dependent failure of complex molecular mechanisms and other molecular hallmarks of aging cause a decline of organ-system level physiological function.

ToDo List for heathiest life at 40 and beyond

Build healthy habits

Regular exercise helps control weight, strengthen bones and muscles and improve body coordination. It also maintains cardiac health and reduces the chances of neuro diseases. Studies have shown that exercising regularly decreases the chances of type 2 diabetes in old age (7).
A healthy diet is important for controlling weight, maintaining a healthy digestive system, reducing the risk of cardiac diseases. It also helps keep diabetes in control. (8) (9)

Proper sleep is necessary for good health. Lack of sleep increases the chances of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity. It also causes hypometabolism in different parts of the brain which is a common feature of many neuro diseases. (10)

Avoid these mistakes

• Improper Diet: Unbalanced or unhealthy diet can cause digestive and cardiovascular diseases in old age.
• Lack of sleep: Lack of sleep has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases in old people.
• Low physical activity: People with low physical activity have been shown to have higher risks of cardiac diseases and diabetes.
• Too much screen time
Too much screen time weakens the eyesight, leads to physically inactive lifestyle and results in spinal problems.
• Ignoring health signs: Do not ignore health signs, for example falling hair, lost appetite, sleeplessness, etc. Consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.


Eating healthy may help you live longer. It strengthens bones and reduces the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis. It supports muscles and reflexes.

A balanced diet is necessary to lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It is vital for digestive system health in the 40s and beyond. Weight gain due to low metabolism is a common problem, proper diet helps maintain a healthy weight. (11)


Exercise plays an important role in the management of diseases like sarcopenia and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that physical performance is increased by regular exercise. (12) Exercise strengthens bones and reduces the risks of osteoporosis and sarcopenia. It also helps improve balance and coordination, decreasing the chances of falling and breaking bones. (13)

The CDC recommends moderate-intensity activity, 150 minutes a week. Activities that strengthen muscles at least 2 days a week. (14)


During sleep the body repairs and rejuvenates itself. Muscles grow, tissues repair, protein synthesize and growth hormones released during sleep. (15)

According to the US department of health and human services adults need seven or more hours of sleep on a regular schedule each night. Getting enough sleep lowers the risks of diabetes and cardiac diseases. It also helps to reduce stress and improves mood. (16)

Cardiac health

It is important to take care of heart health especially in the declining age. According to a study people who have survived a heart attack before age 40 have a 25% chance of death in less than 15 years. (17) Insomnia can increase the chances of heart disease and high blood pressure. This can be an effect of poor choices due to lack of sleep like higher stress, low motivation for physical activity and unhealthy diet choices. (18)

Managing diet is very important for heart health. High cholesterol levels between the ages of 35 and 55 can increase the chances of heart diseases with every decade of high cholesterol (19). Foods like some whole grains, nuts and citrus fruits help decrease cholesterol.

Mental health

More than 50% of mental health issues start after 40 years of age (20). According to the National Institute of environmental and Health Sciences, the most common neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (21)

According to Harvard health publishing getting enough sleep, eating a Mediterranean diet and regular exercise are important for Alzheimer’s prevention (22). There is no scientifically proven way to prevent Parkinson’s. Experts recommend a healthy diet and physical activity like aerobic exercise to prevent Parkinson’s. (23)


It’s important to maintain a healthy diet before the 40s to reduce the risk of age related diseases and the effects of aging. Regular exercise keeps you active and keeps your muscles and bones strong. Seven or more hours of good quality sleep is vital for mental and cardiac health.

It is recommended to get regularly checked up or as recommended by a medical professional.

1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00456.x
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383520/#bibr60-1759720X11430858
3. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/60564
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7336713/
5. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/60564
6. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.1601833
7. https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html
8. https://jech.bmj.com/content/66/5/420.short
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426415/
10. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-13439-002
11. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/resources-publications/benefits-of-healthy-eating.html
12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304477/
13. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/exercise-and-bone-health/
14. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html
15. https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/why-do-we-sleep
16. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep
17. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/premature-heart-disease
18. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/sleep.htm
19. https://dcri.org/high-cholesterol-30s-40s-increases-later-risk-heart-disease/
20. https://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-017-2873-5
21. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/health/neurodegenerative/index.cfm#:~:text=Alzheimer’s%20disease%20and%20Parkinson’s%20disease,as%20many%20as%206.2%20million.
22. https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease
23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6133181/

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