Fit and Fabulous at 40

Rebecca Gibney, Julia Roberts, Demi Moore, Cate Blanchett . These 40-something women have shown that the 40s can be a time of opportunity, self-assurance, style and achievement.

But it’s also a time when women need to focus on their health, says Dr Rosie King, a sexual health physician and author of Where Did My Libido Go? (Ebury Australia).

Dr King told the Daily Telegraph many women rediscover their sexuality as children become more independent. But the Australian Study Of Sexual Health and Relationships found almost 55 per cent of women had a lack of interest in sex – with lack of interest higher in those over 40.

Common causes of lost libido are fatigue, stress, depression and an unhappy relationship, says Dr King. Painful intercourse can also affect libido. As women age the vaginal lining thins, becomes dry and is easily irritated. Lubricant or applying oestrogen treatment to the lining of the vagina can ease the problem.

“You can’t have good sex in a bad relationship,” Dr King says. “And if your libido is because you are so worn out that sex is the last thing on your mind, prioritise, delegate and prune.”

Health Checklist

Your 40s are the time to think about what you can do to ensure your next 40 years are healthy. Having key checks at appropriate times is important. These include:

•    A bone-health review. Bone loss doubles at menopause. Get advice from a nutritionist on the best bone supplement for you. Getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight daily boosts vitamin D, which helps deposit calcium in the bones.
•    A Pap test every two years, with a pelvic exam.
•    An STI check prior to starting a new sexual relationship.
•    Having your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checked annually, or more often if your GP recommends.
•    Checking your BMI and waist circumference. Aim for a BMI of 20 to 25 and a waist measurement of less than 80 centimetres.
•    A mammogram every few years.
•    Colorectal cancer screening every two years if you have a family history of bowel cancer.

Time For Yourself
In your 40s, weight-bearing exercise such as walking, running, tennis and dancing builds bone strength. Lifting weights is also good for bones, muscle strength and flexibility. Aim to exercise most days of the week.

“Making time for yourself is a really important message. And when you reach your 40s, consider your family history to decide which screening tests you need,” Dr Farrell says.

And if you need a helping hand with getting a spark back in your sex life, herbal supplements like Herbal Ignite can help.

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