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Habits No Man Over 40 Should Ever Do

Eight things experts warn to stop doing in your 40s.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Your 40s should be an exciting time filled with good years of success and health. But it's also time to kick the bad habits you had previously and get serious about your overall well-being. In your 20s and 30s it's easy to think and feel like you're invincible, but nobody is and to live a long happy life, experts suggest avoiding the following habits. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Skip Your Annual Eye Exam

Optometrist checking patient eyesight and vision correction

VSP Vision network optometrist Jennifer Wademan says, "One health habit you should never do as you age is skip your annual comprehensive eye exam.  That's because you are more prone than younger people to get chronic conditions such as diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. With all of these conditions, early detection is critical. Additionally, many eye health problems have no early symptoms. They can develop painlessly, and you may not be aware of changes to your vision until the condition is quite advanced. If you make it a priority to see your optometrist each year, they'll be able to keep track of your vision and health changes over time."


Don't Skip Sun Protection


Dr. Wademan says, "Without the right protection, the sun can severely damage your eyes and the delicate skin around your eyes.. If you've spent several hours in the sun and your eyes are watering, itchy, sensitive to light, or dry and gritty, your eyes might actually be sunburned, and sunburned eyes can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, and in rare cases, cancer, in the future. Wearing proper sun wear, like hats and sunglasses with 100 % UVA and UVB protection are the best defense against damage. You can also ask your optometrist about eyeglasses with light-reactive lenses that change from light to dark in sunlight for convenient sun protection."


Lack a Good Skincare Routine

young man in white t-shirt and jeans looking in mirror at thinning hair
Shutterstock / Maridav

Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, Clearing Chief Medical Office says, "Every skin is gorgeous as it is (and we can also help the biggest organ of our body out with some extra support). After age 40, the skin's natural oil production tends to taper off, leaving skin drier, duller, and more prone to cracks and possibly infections. Counter that with body lotions containing ingredients such as shea butter or cocoa butter, and regularly use facial moisturizers. You'll want to look for hyaluronic acid to help hang onto moisture during your facial care routine; you may also want to add in products containing vitamin C and E. Retinoids are recommended, but the best thing of all is to use daily sunscreen, even if you didn't as a younger person. It's never too late to take care of your skin, which means regularly cleaning, moisturizing, and checking for any abnormalities." 


Obsess Over the Little Things

senior couple doing yoga workout at home
Shutterstock / Nattakorn_Maneerat

Dr. Hascalovici reminds us, "After 40, many of us are deep into our careers, juggling multiple obligations, and still trying to get everything done perfectly. Perfectionism, however, can lead to micro-stresses that add up over time to too much of a burden of stress overall. Longevity experts advise becoming more perfect at the art of letting the little things go. To help yourself do that, you can learn how to stimulate your vagus nerve through deep breathing, which will slow your heart rate and help you feel more calm." 


Getting Too Busy To Connect

Portrait of young man in drenched jacket in heavy rain.

"Loneliness is on the rise, and it can really hurt your health," Dr. Hascalovici says. "Loneliness is as dangerous, experts have estimated, as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. After 40, the hustle and bustle of life, the difficulty of scheduling get-togethers, the sheer number of commitments, and the breakdown of certain friendships can lead to having lower quality friendships and fewer of them (and the pandemic didn't help, either). Push back against loneliness and the risk of growing isolation by making friendships a priority. Stay close to the good friends you already have, regularly telling them how much you appreciate them. Make time for new friends, too–it takes some effort, but volunteering, staying active in clubs or groups, or getting involved in a new hobby can all lead to fresh and rewarding friendships."


Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

vitamin d held up in sunshine, fitness supplements

Dr. Hascalovici states, "Many of us are low on vitamin D, and after 40, this imbalance can affect mood, bone health, and even our muscles and teeth. Unless you're photo-sensitive due to medication or have an elevated risk of skin cancer, try to stimulate your body's vitamin D production with exposure to (limited!) amounts of sunlight. Depending on your skin tone and where you live, 10 to 45 minutes of exposure can be safe. After that, use sunscreen. If sunlight exposure won't work for you, get more vitamin D through your diet, which could include more mushrooms, egg yolks, and fatty fish. Supplements may also be an option, depending on your physician's advice."



Mature man working on laptop while sitting at his working place in office.

Wellness and clean living expert Julie McClure says, "Whether you are a stay at home mom or a full-time entrepreneur your schedule is likely jammed packed. You push yourself to the limits and sacrifice your own personal wellness time for your list of other priorities. When the warning light comes on, you start to feel tired, unmotivated and perhaps even resentful. Self-care and me-time are important. Whether it involves hiring a babysitter or scheduling a block of time, you need to put yourself first. Not only will showing up for yourself make you feel more rejuvenated & energized, it will also make sure you're bringing your best self to whatever you are faced with. The world deserves that!"


Poor Dietary Habits

Man eating pizza having a takeaway at home relaxing resting

McClure shares, "I think this can be relatable at any age, but our 40s is the sweet decade where things start to change and our metabolism starts to take a bit of a shift. Whether you are prone to undereating or overeating, finding a lifestyle that is sustainable is the most important. Poor dietary habits compound the added effects of aging. Therefore as you start to slow down and feel tired, a poor diet can only make that worse. Aging requires more energy, therefore boosting your body with great nutrition habits is a great way to combat aging and feel great. You don't have to slow down, you just need to accommodate your new energy requirements. Adding superfoods and a quality greens powder to your morning routine is a great way to get this habit going!" 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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