Taking care of your health is a lifelong process, with some actions spanning across all age ranges and other actions needing to be taken starting at certain life stages such as puberty and menopause. Fortunately, there are many ways to help ensure that you live a long and healthy life. Here are three ways that women can boost their health.
Get Regular Checkups
Getting a regular checkup with your physician will enable you to identify an illness early, increasing the likelihood that you will be able to treat it more quickly and easier compared to an illness that is caught later. In addition to routine checks like body mass index, blood pressure, and cholesterol, women should get regular pap smears between the ages of 21 and 65 and well as mammograms beginning at around age 45. If you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is also a good idea, as many STDs go unnoticed while still being dangerous to your health and contagious to your partner.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Most dieticians recommend eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein while avoiding overly processed foods, sodas, and excess sugar. It is especially important to consume foods high in calcium to help prevent osteoporosis, which is much more common in women than men. In addition to dairy sources like milk, cheese, and yogurt, some sources of calcium may surprise you:
- Poppy, sesame, and chia seeds, which carry the additional benefit of being high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Soy products like tofu and edamame
- Oily fish such as sardines and canned salmon
- Almonds, which carry a punch of magnesium, another nutrient that is good for bone health
- Dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach
Treating yourself to your favorite chocolate or glass of wine once in a while is permitted and encouraged, but for the most part, stick to highly nutritious whole foods and plenty of water for your diet.
Not only does regular exercise help prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death for women in the United States, but working out assists in preventing and managing high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, anxiety, and depression. Exercise also helps you sleep better at night and boosts your energy levels during the day, allowing you to do more of the things you want to do on a daily basis. Make sure to incorporate the following types of exercise in your routine:
- Aerobic exercise, which gets your breathing and heart rate up and includes brisk walking and jogging, swimming, dancing, and bicycling
- Strength training, which builds muscle and can include lifting weights or engaging in push-ups, squats, and lunges
- Stretching, which is important for maintaining flexibility, reducing pain, and helping to prevent injuries while engaging in other forms of exercise
The best type of activity is one you will do regularly, so find something that you enjoy.
Follow these three basic steps and live your healthiest possible life.