EAT HEALTH­IER: FIT IN YOUR FOR­TIES

It's in­evitable, gen­tle­men – once you cross the mid­dle-aged thresh­old, you have to change your diet.

Inside Sport - - INSIDER - Brooke Long­field is Healthy Food Guide’s Ac­cred­ited Prac­tis­ing Di­eti­tian (APD) and Ex­er­cise Phys­i­ol­o­gist, BSc (Nu­tri­tion) (Hons), BAp­pSc (Ex&SpSc)

Gone are the care­free days of your 20s, and your 30s are rolling by. Be­fore you know it, you’ll be cel­e­brat­ing the big four-oh.

Once you could eat and drink what­ever you liked, and still have the stamina to run around on the footy field or soc­cer pitch on the week­end. But the for­ties marks the on­set of mid-life, when your body can start to show the signs of wear and tear from bad health choices and the stress of jug­gling work and fam­ily.

In the next few years, your me­tab­o­lism starts to slow down, which means you can lose lean mus­cle and de­velop a ‘mid­dle-aged spread’ of belly fat. Fatty liver, high choles­terol, high blood pres­sure and in­sulin re­sis­tance can all pose prob­lems, mak­ing it harder to lose weight.

It’s also im­por­tant to keep an eye out for signs of a mid-life cri­sis. The stress and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of mod­ern life can take their toll, and men are more likely to in­ter­nalise their emo­tions than women.

The man cave (or sports bar) might of­fer a place for you to re­lax, but if your re­treat is reg­u­larly turn­ing into a place to binge on al­co­hol and high-fat foods, it could sig­nal the blues. Nearly one in two Aussie men will ex­pe­ri­ence a men­tal health prob­lem dur­ing their lives, so don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel you aren’t cop­ing. Visit ruok.org.au to learn more.

So while you might be dread­ing your next birth­day, there’s also a say­ing that life be­gins at 40. In fact, with the right food, fit­ness and at­ti­tude, you could be edg­ing to­wards the best years of your life! Here are some tips to stay­ing fit at age 40:

• See your GP. Just as you get your car reg­u­larly ser­vices, take the time to see your doc­tor for a check-up.

• Bump up the fi­bre. Eat more whole grains, fruit and veg­eta­bles.

• Find bal­ance; take time out to med­i­tate, or go for a mind-clear­ing walk or run out­doors.

• Mea­sure your waist. For men, a 94cm-plus waist in­creases risk of chronic dis­ease, and 102cm greatly in­creases risk.

• Be­ware of self-med­i­ca­tion. Al­co­hol and pro­longed sleep make de­pres­sion worse.

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