My 5 Healthiest Habits Since Turning 40

This past Monday I added a last-minute, pop-up Pilates Boot Camp class at Mind the Mat. One of my “regulars” was there, but I hadn’t seen her in a while.

“Where’ve you been?” I asked, surprised.

She sighed, “I turned 40 and freaked out.”

She started to walk out the door. But I chased after her and said:


“Look at me,” giving her my best Robert De Niro-in-Meet-the-Parents hand gesture towards my face. We stared into each other’s eyes. “My two best years were 24 and 40. And 40 was by far the best. Forty is where it all begins. And I am way healthier now than I was when I was 24. Your life is about to blossom.”

Here are my five healthiest habits since turning 40…for a list of my five unhealthiest..DM me 😉 :


1. Exercise Everyday

Pilates pendulum, grab some ankle weights! (1 lb).

A post shared by Dr. Megan Brown, PT (@drmeganbrown) on

Now please hear me out. Moving is exercising! Move every day, but don’t do the same thing. A typical “moving” week for me: one cycle class, two Pilates Boot Camp classes (more on the cardio end), and two HAWT Pilates Classes. The other two days are either a long brisk walk or a short run, but it’s never the same thing. Our minds may crave that same daily, habitual exercise routine, but our bodies need balance. Subscribe to my Summer Vimeo channel for a selection of my favorite balanced daily workouts.


2. Practice Intermittent Fasting

Please don’t let the word “fasting” fool you…I LOVE food. And I like to eat. But once upon a time I couldn’t control my appetite and I overate daily due to insatiable hunger. Intermittent Fasting is NOT a calorie restriction program, it’s merely a scheduled way to eat. In a nutshell, you can eat during an 8-hour period. For some people it’s early, others, late in the day. For me, I drink black coffee every morning but I don’t eat breakfast until 11am. The benefits? Longevity, reduced belly fat, weight loss, reduced inflammation, reduced cancer risks, and improved brain health, including the prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease, which runs in my family.


3. Have a Siesta

Now this isn’t necessarily a full-on nap in the afternoon, although I am not judging! But, our veins need a break. Every day, in the afternoon, lie horizontally with your feet propped up. Focus on your breathing, clean out your inbox, or swipe right and left. This position promotes better circulation and takes the pressure off of your veins and lymphatic system. Even five minutes can recharge and reset for the rest of your day. My grandfather lived to be 97 and he took a daily nap in his office throughout his whole career.


4. Take Probiotics

I’m not great at sticking with this habit, but since I turned 40, I’ve noticed changes in my digestion. Probiotics help support the good bacteria in your gut needed for proper digestion. My older son struggles with ADHD and is on the spectrum. His psychiatrist suggested daily probiotics. Since starting them, I’ve noticed a huge difference in his focus and behavior. Talk to your doctor about what can help you and re-read this amazing digestion post by Sara.



I mean it! I am not happy when I restrict myself; I can’t imagine anyone is. We can’t deprive ourselves of things we enjoy, we just need to make smart decisions. It’s funny, when I run into clients in restaurants, many peek to see what I am eating and are shocked to find I’m indulging in a plate of pasta with big glass of red wine. On Sundays, you bet you can find me at Stomping Ground eating biscuits and a grit bowl because that makes me happy…and what’s this whole thing about anyway if we can’t be happy?


Stay tuned for my next post: five exercises you should do every day to live longer.


  • The latest from Megan
Megan Brown, physical therapist, Pilates instructor, mother and co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga in Alexandria, VA, likes to goof around. Yet her commitment to her students and her skill set in the field is no joke. After graduating from University of Virginia with a degree in Sports Medicine, Megan went on to receive her Masters in Physical Therapy and eventually her Doctorate in the profession. Although Pilates was never part of the plan, the method changed the way she treated patients, positively re-directed her career path and enhanced her own active lifestyle. Customized Pilates instruction is her specialty–she designs classes based on clients needs: athletes, new moms, rehabilitation or just for fun (why be serious all the time?). Pilates + Yoga is the best of both worlds, hence the creation of Mind the Mat studios providing classes for all—in every walk of life.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301



  1. Avatar Susan G says:

    I love this! I’ll be 52 in a month and I’ve started doing all of these things this year! I feel 100 times better than I did last year! Thank you for the affirmation that I’m on the right track to good health!

  2. Avatar JAMIE says:

    FABULOUS advice from a FABULOUS woman!

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