Between all of life’s daily activities, finding time to prioritize your health is difficult. Your to-do list continues to grow and, as a result, your health gets pushed to the back burner. It’s a common struggle we’ve all experienced one time or another–in fact, 15% of Americans report time constraints as a leading reason they may not visit their doctor regularly. But while time constraints may not discriminate on the basis of gender, research shows that health care challenges typically do.
Even though women tend to outlive men by five or more years, recent data shows that women are 38% more likely to develop chronic conditions than their male counterparts. And for those suffering from chronic conditions, powering through uncomfortable symptoms can be difficult.
Improving women’s health is extremely important both at an individual and societal level. It’s an objective that only gets more important with time and age, so starting early and often with a few key health steps has compounding results.
To empower you to take steps to feel your best each day, here are a few simple ways to boost women’s health:
1. Stress Management
According to recent research, women are more likely to experience higher levels of stress than men. And with more stress comes a higher risk for higher blood pressure, anxiety and chest pain among other physical symptoms. As self-care becomes a more mainstream approach to stress management, try finding one or two calming activities that work for you. Common relaxation techniques include getting more sleep, decreasing your caffeine intake, exercising regularly and stretching (consider low impact stretching like yoga).
2. Healthy Diet
By adopting a nutrient-rich diet, you lower your risk for a number of negative health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more. Typically, our diets tend to include a high number of saturated fats stemming from overly processed foods. Including more whole foods like fruits, vegetables and grains in your diet is a great, simple way to give your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. And don’t forget to drink your water! We recommend the 8×8 rule–in other words, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
3. Regular Exercise
In addition to a healthy diet, regularly getting an adequate amount of exercise is extremely important as you age. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, current exercise guidelines recommend combining both aerobic activity and strength training in your workout regimen. The guidelines further suggest aiming for 150 minutes of light to moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity across a full week, while exercising each muscle group at least twice.
4. Health Check-Ins
While taking small daily steps towards a healthy lifestyle is important, it’s vital that you pay close attention to your less-obvious physical and mental health and have regular check-ins with a licensed professional. The American Cancer Association recommends that women perform breast self-exams at least once a month, preferably after their menstrual cycle. For women age 40-50, it’s important to have mammogram screenings annually. Further, you should look for any sudden changes in your body, noting any chest, abdominal or pelvic pain, sudden decrease in weight or dramatic changes in mood.
At NorthCrest Health, our services related to Women’s Care provide you with an exceptional high quality of care. To see how we can help you, visit our website or give us a call at (615) 384-2411.