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You Know You are Over 40 When - Body Image Issues and Your Health

Updated on October 4, 2015

Body image is different over the age of 40. The hands of time leave a physical impression that we are no longer in our 20s. Signs such as optional clothing are no longer laughed at - we are scared of seeing ourselves or others who are over 40. With a handful of exceptions such as Valerie Bertinella who donned a bikini to celebrate her new found youthful figure and health, many of us over 40 have experienced these 10 changes to our body:

From physical to mental changes, this is what everyone experiences. For some, it happens or is noticed sooner. For some, later. For many the changes take a toll upon our self confidence and energy level. For all of us, we need to know the signs, symptoms and actively fight against the aging process. Not with Botox but with exercise and first class foods. As my hairdresser states, go with bangs not with Botox. See if you recognize any of these 10 signs.

Over 40 Famous Quote by Coco Chanel

Over 40 Famous Quote by Coco Chanel
Over 40 Famous Quote by Coco Chanel

Body Image Yield Signs at Age 40 and Above

Yellow yield sign that says "bikinis optional beyond this point"
Yellow yield sign that says "bikinis optional beyond this point"

Famous Quote by GmaGoldie

"Muscle is the only free insurance for protecting our most valuable asset, our bodies." GmaGoldie

10 Noticeable Changes and Simple Solutions To Age Gracefully

As we age, unfortunately our body changes. I noticed the changes after 40 and they became more pronounced after age 45. Here are some of the changes I noted and some solutions.


One of the common changes is IF we were not lactose intolerant before, oftentimes after 40, we start experiencing gas from milk and milk product intake. Lactose is a sugar most commonly found in milk. Don’t confuse lactose intolerance with a milk allergy which can be life threatening. Lactose intolerance is denoted by the following symptoms: abdominal pain after consuming milk, abdominal bloating, and the most notable one as we age – that smelly symptom known as “gas”, diarrhea and also in some cases nausea.

Simple Solutions: Consult with your doctor and perhaps consult with a registered dietitian. Remember when you limit milk and milk products, your calcium and vitamin D are limited; you still need to include calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your health professional may recommend dietary supplement. For more information see [1]

For More Information

American Dietetic Association
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606–6995

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
P.O. Box 170864
Milwaukee, WI 53217–8076
Phone: 1–888–964–2001 or 414–964–1799
Fax: 414–964–7176


This is not just the battle of the bulge. Muscle tone does burn more calories, but more importantly, muscle tone protects joints and helps us maintain our balance.

Loss of muscle tone means loss of your protective armor for your joints. Knee injuries, back injuries, rotator cuff, hips are all joints within our body which we need to protect. Muscle is the only free insurance for protecting our most valuable asset, our bodies.

We are not taught but I have learned that my body loves using its muscles. Yes, you need to work your muscles to exhaustion. You need to change your program to activate new muscles, activate old muscles in a new way. And muscles respond to activity throughout our entire life. You are never too old to start. You may be too old to learn a learn trick but your muscles are ready!

Muscles are also known to help protect bone strength.

Simple Solution, target toning such as strength, calisthenics. Rubber tubing, barbells, and yes, my Grandmothers sandbags all work. Myself, I love body weight exercises, water calisthenics and tubing for my troublesome thighs that protect my tender knees. And of course, I swear by sit-ups in the water with the water aerobics tool called the EZ Swimmer.


It is not your imagination, our bodies really forget how to balance. Remember seeing your Grandparents so vertically unstable. That will be us too. And you will begin to feel this change in your body sometime after the age of 40. Loss of balance is a critical concern because of possible injuries and associated illness with trips and falls.

“According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of every three Americans over the age of 65 falls each year, and among individuals 65-84, falls account for 87% of all fractures and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury. The good news is that physical activity can improve balance and reduce the risk of falling. In one study of 256 older adults (70 to 92 years of age, average age 77) who did tai chi for six months, there were 52% fewer falls in the individuals who did tai chi compared to those who didn't, and there were fewer falls overall among the individuals who did tai chi compared to those who didn't (28% versus 46%).”

Simple solution: Balance exercises. Balance ball, EZ Swimmer's Seated Balance. Stability exercises in the water or on land are mandatory as we age.

Famous Quotes on Body Image

Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. Anonymous

Those who indulge, bulge. Anonymous

I don’t consider fat a disease. I mean, c’mon, who had the gun to my head? Nobody. What gene in my body says I have to eat four cakes instead of two? It’s a choice. Kirstie Alley

Famous Quote on Gray Hair

Gray hair is God's graffiti.
Bill Cosby

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~Mark Twain, Following the Equator

I'm not 40, I'm eighteen with 22 years experience. ~Author Unknown

Old is always fifteen years from now.

Bill Cosby

“Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
-Albert Einstein


This and wrinkles are the two vain items of growing older which I wish we could avoid. Yes, there are surgeries – amazing money can buy tummy tucks, etc…

Simple solution: None - just plain hard work (exercise), diet and tons of discipline. Threefold summary:

1.) Add exercise (cardio and target toning)

2.) Decrease food intake (portion control) and

3.) Change food intake types (increase nutrients, decrease sugars and fats).

For 12 helpful tips also see my article entitled 12 Mandates to Myself to Train Myself to Eat Like a Thin Person. As Gerry Pugliese so elegantly stated it: “Saying eating properly is a skill that needs to be practiced.” According to Gerald “Gerry” Pugliese, Diet-Blog


For some of us, grey hair arrives sooner. For some of us such as my Grandfather, he went bald very young but our running joke was that he did not have a grey hair in his head.

Simple Solution: Dye


A wise man once told me the surest way to judge a woman’s age is to look not at her face but at her neck and her hands. And oh, boy, the lack of moisturizing the neck over the years really does show my real age!

Simple Solution: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

The moral of the story here is to make it a point especially nearing 40 or even after 40, to moisturize the neck. Funny thing, my ears get dry – they tell me when they have been left out – I am sure no one else has itchy ears from dry skin! There are some things in life we need to indulge ourselves, moisture cream is one of them. No, you don’t need expensive creams but you do need a lot of creams.

Three Types of Creams: Hand, Face and Body

My recommendation is to always have three types of creams on hand besides your hand lotion. Hand lotion must be kept underneath the sink for both men and women. My brother-in-law will help with the dishes (men – are you listening! - this is absolutely true!) and after wards, he needs the hand lotion.

In addition to the hand lotion you need of course your body lotion and also a good bedtime cream to continue this important hydration process while you sleep. It is at bedtime that I indulge my neck and my arms.

In my youth, no cream or oil was needed - now I must moisture daily or "dry".


As a personal trainer, my clients and the entire gym know firsthand I always shout to breath deeply. Breath in through the nose, hold and out through your mouth. There was a super hyped program by a celebrity who I normally love who felt strongly there was research to prove deep breathing would help with weight loss. I don't subscribe to this theory but I do believe we need to expand our lungs. One of my clients who has exercises vigorously for over 20 years, came up to me and stated that she was able to climb the stairs with no loss of breath - a new treat for her.

Simple solution: Exercise. Hire a personal trainer, practice the proper breathing. Yoga and pilates and strength training all center around the breath.


When we exercise we are very focused - the posture, the correct movement. Practice deep breathing exercises during exercise program

Simple solution: Learn once again proper posture and practice it daily.


This is the biggest monster of all 10. Our mental state will bring down our physical well-being.

Human beings across all continents are plagued by depression and sometimes anxiety. These emotional problems can lead to physical illness and injuries. This is especially true for those of us over 40. While we don't hold an exclusivity on anxiety on depression, the likelihood is greater. We must guard against this emotional trauma that can set us back physically.

Simple solution: Be on guard and take action. See your doctor, be open about your emotional ailments as well as your physical ailments.

Over 40 Take Special Care

None of the above solutions are simple IF we don't learn the signs and listen to our body. Our body is our temple and it is up to only us to take care of it. Oftentimes, we are care takers for many others and ignore ourselves. That is the wrong thing to do. We cannot take care of our children, our spouses without concern for our health. Eat well, exercise and pay close to attention to what your body is telling you.

Wise Men Do (and Wise Women too!)

Wise men "do" consult a physician before it is mandatory.

Wise men "do" schedule regular phsyical examinations.

Wise men "do" know to team with their family doctor with openness and honesty.

Wise men "do" know even with the slightest of doubt to talk to a physician.

Wise men "do" not hesitate to consult a physician.

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© 2010 Kelly A Burnett


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    • MARiley profile image

      M Riley 

      3 months ago from Virginia

      The lactose intolerance thing is weird but true, not yet 40 (but not far off) and I was so sad I couldn't eat all the ice cream I wanted (which, I suppose, is not the worse thing for my health, but still...)

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi Jodah,

      Isn't it amazing that age brings wisdom and weight?! I like the wisdom part but the battle with the bulge is trying. I am so glad I was able to motivate you in some small fashion.

      Off for my morning coffee and run. Cheers my friend!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is a wonderful hub for us over 40s Kelly. I do regular exercise (but probably not as much as I should) and have reduced my food intake over the years. This has inspired me to do more however. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.

    • Easy Exercise profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly A Burnett 

      3 years ago from United States

      Hi Tassilyn,

      Oh the many wonders of the human body and the changes that age presents to us. It is our job, I firmly believe, to learn about these changes and make daily changes in our lives to make our body (and therefore our mind too!) the very best possible at any age in our life.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Never would have thunk I would find this so iniaspensdble.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Lady Guinevere,

      Thank you! Oh, the aging process, we must learn to love our many changes and challenges.

      Oh, yeah!! I agree!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      6 years ago from West By God

      Oh yeah!!

    • SteveoMc profile image


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Don't remind me! I try to ignore the fact that I am changing, but try very hard to eat right and not drink or smoke too much.

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      You said "Signs such as optional clothing are no longer laughed at - we are scared of seeing ourselves or others who are over 40. " .... I have to say after reading all your valid and researched points that I would love to see YOU naked... LOL

      Great Hub - Thanks

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      GmaGoldie, Nice hub! Great tips! You have made some very good points. Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Peace & Blessings!

    • stars439 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very well thought out hub, and thank you for sharing. God Bless You.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, this is a great hub as it gives me the incentive to work out a bit more, but the trouble with me is the fact that I still think I am young so push myself too far sometimes, hence the fact that I walked miles recently on holiday and now need a holiday to recuperate! my legs are really feeling it now, so I will take some of this advice and try it. thanks nell

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Okay, now write one for 50! lol. Thumbs up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I will be 40 in few months and this hub is so helpful for me!! Overall this is a very timely awareness hub!! Thanks very much!! Cheers!!

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great article and so true, I started in my twenties putting 30 block on my face, neck, and hands I have no idea why I did it back then but being 42 I am so thank full that I did. The loss of muscle is true but if you can do plenty of resistace weight training and cut back on carbohydrates the body can still look amazing.

    • Ladybird33 profile image


      8 years ago from Fabulous USA true, hated to ready this (yes over 40 myself) but really helpful too. I had to share with my girlfriends...they are still in denial :) Thanks so much!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      As someone approaching the big 60 I have to agree with much of your advice. Thankfully I feel more ate ease with myself than when I was younger. Men and women age slighltly differently also. Due to the menopause I guess.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Beautiful hub, GmaGoldie! I'm over 50 and wish I'd read this waaaay back then. :) Actually, the moisturizing advice was offered to me by my mother; she told me to always apply it in an upward motion. I do that religiously.

      The grey hair? I must say that I welcome it. It is my crown of experience-and I think it looks pretty cool!

      Anxiety and depression? I'm working on those-as you said, they are the monsters. Writing gets me out of my head.

      This hub is fabulously put forth-thank you!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Many people deny lactose intolerance while it's as obvious as the noses on their faces! Alas, it's just the beginning! The young chicks of 50 or so don't find me as beautiful as they used to!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      SSuch sensible advice and practical advice. Really well done.

      Though I for one simply love mature women who look after themselves, I do not mind seeing a mature woman in a bikini on the beach, who has chosen the option not to follow your advice. But the advice itself is so spot one and so useful, if one's expectations in middle age require a youthful body. Good job :-)

    • Absent Friend profile image

      Absent Friend 

      8 years ago

      Find somebody to love. May reactivate that youthful feeling?

      Great hub, though sometimes truth hurts ...I'm only 35 - Hee!-Hee!!

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      We can never agree on this issue -- your idea that only Valerie Bertinelli should show her figure because it's YOUTHFUL. For God's sake, who decided that only youth is allowed! I am grateful that not all the world follows your thinking, and admire the round middle-aged body out on the beaches. Beauty is still beauty no matter the age. You are stuck in a media driven image of beauty. Try and grow out of it and see the women (and men) around you for what they are. I am almost sixty and still wear my bikini on the beach. No one's thrown up yet! Or shouted "a whale!" I am not youthful looking but I still look good. So do my friends -- without virtue of boob jobs, face lifts and tummy tucks, with their stretch marks and all -- beautiful!

      Oh, this hub makes me so angry!


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