Many people consider the forties as a kind of crisis, a stage of decline, a downhill situation. However, entering the fourth decade of life may be more like living a second adolescence. Both vital stages are characterized by experiencing a series of profound changes that are triggered by hormonal alterations that bring important physical and psychological transformations.
The body is governed by stages and the mind also. Knowing the changes that are going to occur during this cycle and how to deal with them keeps a certain similarity with the adolescent who notices how her body is transformed and developed, but also her mind. From this age, the metabolism and the hormonal system will condition the functioning of many physical processes, so if a woman wants to maintain health, it is necessary to establish a series of habits according to the new body. The most important changes that a woman will experience from the age of 40, go through three key factors: food, skincare, and mind.
From this age, a woman’s metabolism changes and her dietary needs may vary. After 40, the metabolism slows and there is a tendency to gain weight since the body does not distribute it the same. The body starts to accumulate fat, especially in the abdomen, and there is a deficit of vitamin D and calcium.
The Mediterranean diet is recommended, as it is suitable to prevent diseases related to obesity and fat accumulation, such as diabetes, and to avoid high gains in weight. Fish and dairy are good foods to fill gaps in vitamin D and calcium, as well as preventing osteoporosis.
Exercise would also be critical to maintaining good health at this time. Specialists explain that energy expenditure and fat burning are based on muscle mass, so if you lose mass, you gain fat. It is advised to exercise, but as a sustainable physical activity, monitoring articulation problems that can occur with malpractice or excessive sport.
The skin also begins to undergo a series of changes motivated by the alteration of the hormonal levels. The main dermatological problem that we can find since the 40’s are more marked wrinkles of expression, which have always been, as those that come out to smile, and the wrinkles produced by chronological aging, which appear with age.
The experts also mention two fundamental factors for the state of the skin: sun and tobacco. Tobacco alters the elastic fibers of the dermis, especially around the mouth and eyes, leaving the skin more gray and dull, but while the effects caused by the sun are irreversible, those of tobacco are reversible.
The main recommendations to take care of the skin from the 40s pass through stopping smoking, hydration (because with age the skin becomes more dry and sensitive), and protecting from the sun. There are a variety of dermo-protective products and cosmetic products with photoprotection on the market. In addition to the use of treatments, it is important to have good skin hygiene, which mainly passes by removing make-up every night.
With aging, hair quality is also lost. Women who have had children “usually suffer from postpartum telogen effluvium, which is a hair loss caused by an alteration in estrogen and progesterone levels. In some cases, the hair recovers, but in others, it does not. There is also the problem of female androgenic alopecia, caused by iron and estrogen deficiency, especially following menopause.
How to face the 40 psychologically
Physical changes and life experiences also transform mentality. In the mind reside much of the problems derived from the age, but also its solutions. Psychological health depends very much on whether a woman has achieved all or most of the vital expectations that have been proposed. If she has not succeeded, this can lead to depression and anxiety problems.
However, the reality is 40 years old is an age where a woman has accumulated a great life experience, but is still young, which gives her an advantage that she has never had to make decisions and act in the best and most consistent way, and pursue with these capacities all her objectives. That maturity removes insecurity and strengthen, so it is the best stage to meet challenges.
Part of the psychological problems that erupt from this age has to do with the advent of menopause, especially sexuality. At the sexual level, the main psychological barrier you can face is to stop liking yourself or feel embarrassed by some physical changes. Most of the times in which the sexual desire diminishes at these ages, the women do not feel attractive, something that has much of its roots in the education received and the self-esteem.
But, with age sexual maturity is in many cases more positive and you can enjoy sex more. The most important thing is “not to see maturity as a situation of loss of things, but as a gain of capacity for reflection and experience” since “youth is in the mind”.