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Posted in Medshield Wellness   |   August 27th, 2019
Healthy habits are the best way to avoid disease, prolong your life, and live more happily. But in the chaos of a woman’s daily life, healthy living may tend to take back seat to chores, work, busy schedules, and more. Being healthy is not just about one small activity or an isolated action – to be healthy you have to make wellness a part of just about every aspect of your life.
There are so many little things you can do in your day-to-day that add up over time, not only helping you feel great in the moment but also ensuring you still feel top-notch down the road. From adding a little fruit to your water or taking the stairs instead of the lift. This Woman’s Month, take these simple steps towards a healthier you and ultimately, living your best life with minimal effort.
1. Get moving
According to a study conducted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), heart disease is the leading cause of death for South African women. About two out of three women (65.1%) and almost one in three men (31.2%) are overweight or obese in South Africa. 40.1% of women are obese compared to 11.6% of men. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease and keep your ticker strong. It is also beneficial for your mental and bone health.
Aim for 30 minutes of movement at least four days per week. Aerobic, or cardio, exercise is best. This includes:
Mix routines up and keep your exercise plans exciting by trying different activities. Invite a friend to join you for accountability and encouragement.
Cardio alone isn’t enough for optimal health and fitness. You should combine it with some type of strength training. Strength training builds muscle, boosts metabolism, and helps you maintain stronger bones. This is especially important in postmenopausal women.
2. Eat a balanced diet
A nourishing diet is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Beyond weight loss and maintenance, eating a balanced diet is crucial to a woman’s overall health. Good foods provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are important for growth, well-being, and development.
Eating a balanced diet starts with avoiding unhealthy foods. Packaged and processed foods are often full of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, and calories. Avoid the fake stuff, and opt for the good stuff, such as:
Here’s a grocery shopping tip: Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find fresh foods. Try to avoid the inside aisles, where most of the boxed and processed foods reside.
Also, be sure to make a list and stick to it, and don’t shop hungry. You’re more likely to make unhealthy choices and pick up foods you don’t need when your tummy is rumbling. Additionally, a balanced diet is a cornerstone of weight loss. Carrying around extra weight can increase your risk of several conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is vital to our wellbeing. People who don’t get enough sleep can be moody, forgetful, susceptible to illness, and likely to gain weight. And there’s not much negotiation about the amount of sleep you need. Eight hours is the norm, with only an hour of leeway either way for people who need more or less sleep.
4. Deal with stress
Career. Kids. Family. Friends. Volunteer work. Many women are swimming in stress and responsibilities, which can manifest more than just grey hairs. Excessive stress can translate to:
You can manage stress with relaxation techniques such as:
5. Focus on “me time”
Emotional wellbeing is closely tied to physical wellbeing, says psychotherapist and author Cherilynn Veland, speaking to Psychology Today: “If we aren’t taking time to rest, relax, reenergise and restore, bad things will happen eventually.” These bad things include a wide range of psychological and health conditions, including anxiety, depression, heart disease digestive disorders and sleep problems. Veland recommends scheduling “me time” into your week, just like everything else – not just leaving it to chance – and actually setting alarms on your phone to let you know it’s time. What constitutes me time is entirely up to you.
6. Avoid known health risks
Many health issues are common among both men and women. However, some conditions may be more common in women or impact women differently than they do men. These include:
– Heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women. Additionally, women are more likely than men to die following a heart attack.
Women are more likely to have a stroke than men. Men and women share many of the same risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, women have several unique risk factors. These include:
-Urinary tract issues
Women have a shorter urethra, which means bacteria have a smaller distance to travel before they reach your bladder and start an infection. For that reason, urinary tract problems, including infections and incontinence, are more common in women.
Men are more likely to abuse alcohol and become dependent upon it. However, the impacts of chronic alcohol use are greater on women than men. These complications include heart disease and breast cancer. Additionally, babies born to women who drink alcohol during pregnancy may have a condition called foetal alcohol syndrome. This can cause brain damage and learning delays.
Women are more likely to show signs of depression than men. From ages 14 to 25, women are twice as likely than men to have depression. That ratio narrows with age.
While this common form of arthritis can occur in both men and women, it’s more common in women over age 45.
7. Prevent disease
One way to prevent disease and infection is to avoid smoking. You should also avoid those who do. Second hand smoke can be as dangerous as smoking.
Good dental and oral health goes beyond a blindingly white set of teeth. Daily brushing and flossing keeps away cavities, gum disease, and even your physician, as having healthy teeth and gums might reduce your risk of heart disease.
8. Visit the doctor
Other than breast exams and gynaecological visits, you should make sure to visit your doctor regularly for check-ups and screening exams. You should have blood work, biometric data such as blood pressure and weight, and other preventive testing measures done at your yearly physical. These tests can nip potential issues in the bud.
9. Take tech breaks
Technology has enhanced our lives in so many ways. Information is readily available to us, we can keep in touch with distant friends and relatives, we can work from just about anywhere, and we know what’s happening everywhere in the world – but all this connectivity certainly has a downside. Healthy women know that for the good of their minds and bodies, sometimes they just need to disconnect.
This can take the form of regular digital detoxes, or daily “quiet” times – as long as you are spending some of your life disconnected from technology and the other billions of other people all around the world who use it too.
10. Believe in the power of positive relationships
Healthy women build a network of positive people around them. They quietly disengage from friends, family and co-workers that don’t add value to their lives. And they develop coping mechanisms for dealing with toxic people they can’t avoid. It’s a good idea to focus on incorporating positive social experiences into your life. According to Harvard researchers, positive relationships relieve harmful stress levels, which can negatively affect coronary arteries, gut function, insulin regulation and the immune system..
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.
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