the math of a healthy middle age

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In the final part of our 40s fitness math series, we reveal the lifestyles that 40s should add to their daily routine …

Two minutes in a cold shower

From model Elle Macpherson to fitness guru Joe Wicks, many successful people tout the benefits of a cold shower in the morning. Research has shown that cold water immersion strengthens your cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems, all of which require a bit of extra care in midlife. Cold water can also increase your number of white blood cells which boost immunity. One study found that people who take cold showers are 29% less likely to make themselves sick to work, while research by Virginia Commonwealth University has found that cold showers may even help prevent depressive symptoms. Research into medical hypotheses suggests that a 20 ° C bracing is about correct. Try to brave a full two minutes in there if you can.

1.8 liters of water

Water supports your kidneys and liver, lubricates and cushions your joints, increases your mental alertness and memory, aids digestion, improves the performance of your cells, supports the transfer of nutrients and oxygen, and helps eliminate waste . But polls suggest 62 to 89% of UK adults don’t drink enough. This becomes an even bigger problem in our 40s, as we tend to “dry out” as we get older. According to the NHS, the human body contains around 70 percent water at birth, while by the time we reach old age that figure has dropped to 55 percent. There are several reasons for this: We naturally lose muscle as we age, which reduces our ability to store water. Our sweat rates, temperature control mechanisms, and kidneys become less efficient. And our thirst reflex wanes with age. So be sure to sip throughout the day. An independent review of hydration studies published in the journal Nutrients have found that a total daily water intake of less than 1.8 liters seems to be the point at which dehydration-related health problems arise. So aim for at least 1.8 liters – about eight glasses – per day.

Two hours of leisure

Whether you enjoy reading novels, gardening, or playing the piano, maintaining a range of enjoyable hobbies is the secret to a healthy 40s. Research by the University of California found that participants who devoted two hours a day to hobbies were 21% less likely to die prematurely. Challenging your brain with interesting activities helps refine your cognitive performance, increase your social interactions, and ward off illnesses. Hobbies also inject a healthy meaning into your life, which research into Psychological sciences suggests that this may work to “buffer against the risk of death” throughout quarantine and into retirement. Reading is especially powerful: A study from the University of Sussex found that reading a book can help reduce stress by up to 68%. And listening to music provides “total brain training,” according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, helping to reduce anxiety and blood pressure while improving sleep and memory.

200-300 minutes outdoors

Research from the University of East Anglia has found that spending time in the countryside helps combat stress by lowering blood pressure and HDL cholesterol, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality. confused. According to a research article in Scientific reports, spending 200 to 300 minutes per week outdoors in natural environments offers an optimal health boost (just over half an hour per day). It doesn’t matter if you spend everyday in a park or enjoy a long day on the weekend, as long as you achieve this goal, you will improve your physical and mental health.

Four days without alcohol

People aged 45 to 65 are more likely than any other group to drink more than the recommended alcohol limit of 14 units per week, despite an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Journal search Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research found that even lightly drinking four or more times a week can increase the risk of premature death by 20 percent. A little won’t hurt you. In fact, research in the British Medical Journal found that low to moderate wine consumption is associated with lower mortality from cardiovascular disease. But you really need four alcohol-free days a week to protect your liver – a key organ responsible for over 500 vital bodily functions, from energy production to detoxification – in mid-life.

6 p.m. end time

Working after regular business hours could kill you. New research presented at the European Cardiovascular Society’s Preventive Cardiology Congress found that people whose work hours are not in sync with their natural body clocks are at higher risk to their cardiovascular health. In fact, data from the World Health Organization suggests that long working hours kill 750,000 people a year. With the rise of home working, this is no longer just a problem for shift workers. So stick to a regular work schedule and avoid late-night emails.

Three cups of coffee

Excessive consumption of caffeine could lead to an early grave. Research has shown that high coffee consumption (more than 28 cups per week, or four cups per day) is linked to a 21% increased risk of death. But the research published in the Alzheimer’s Disease Journal suggests that moderate coffee drinking in your 40s can reduce your risk of dementia later in life by 65%, so you don’t need to give it up altogether. A paper in the Caffeine Research Journal discovered that coffee can reduce the risk of premature death by 10 percent. As always, moderation is the key, and most health organizations recommend that you eat no more than 300 mg of caffeine (about three cups) per day.

Eight hours of sleep

The 2021 UK State Sleep Survey found 54% of the UK population were unhappy with their sleep, with work pressure, financial stress and Covid-19 all having an impact . This is bad news for the health of the 40s. Journal search To sleep found that people who sleep less than seven hours a night have a 26% higher risk of dying prematurely. And a study from the University of Paris found that people who sleep less than six hours in their middle and older age have a 30% higher risk of dementia. However, those who laze in bed for more than eight hours a day also face a 17% increase in their chances of dying prematurely. So getting as close as possible to eight hours of sleep per night seems like the optimal solution. Start improving your sleep by downloading a sleep app like Pzizz, Sleep Cycle, Calm or Sleep School now.

Finally, be organized

Tidy up your desk, organize your emails, and show up on time to meetings. Being conscientious helps keep your health in your 40s, according to research from Duke University. Researchers have found that conscientious people tend to follow other good habits – such as exercising and cleaning their teeth – which makes them 27% less likely to suffer from health problems later in life, such as as obesity, high cholesterol, inflammation, hypertension and gums. disease.


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