Are you trying to figure out how to keep healthy as a woman? Read this article to learn the best health practices for women’s health.
If you’re a woman living in the U.S., you can expect to outlive your male peers by an average of five years. Not only that, but the news gets even better: the average American woman gets to enjoy four more years of full health compared to men.
These revelations, however, shouldn’t be viewed as a free pass to not take care of your health. Women still need to adopt good habits so they can increase their chances of living long, healthy life.
Here are ten top health practices that every woman should be following.
1. Getting Enough Sleep
Too many of us skimp on sleep or have problems falling or staying asleep. As a result, just over half of us don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Yet sleep has real restorative powers that can help women stay healthier.
Deep sleep, or the REM phase, is when our body actually repairs itself including overworked muscles. Getting enough sleep can also help prevent weight gain. That’s because sleep deprivation disrupts the hormones that regulate our appetite and can have us craving extra calories.
Sleep also decreases elevated stress levels and blood pressure. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine so that you’ll get the sleep you need for optimum health.
Physical activity a few times a week improves blood flow, strengthens the cardiovascular system and muscles, and can help relieve stress and anxiety.
And the good news about exercise is you don’t have to punish yourself at the gym to reap the benefits. Walking, yoga and other low-impact activities that get you moving can decrease your chances of developing certain chronic health problems.
Focus on forms of exercise that you actually enjoy doing and you’ll be more likely to stick to a workout routine.
3. Eating a Balanced Diet
Strive to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, sources of lean protein, whole grains, and dairy products.
If you have a dietary restriction where some of these foods are off-limits, make sure you’re taking a vitamin supplement or getting enough nutrients from other food sources. Not getting enough nutrients can cause hair loss in women. These hair loss tips tell you what kinds of food you should be eating to keep your crowning glory full and shiny.
Try to limit saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods. Maintaining a more natural diet can decrease your risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease.
4. Getting Routine Health Exams
Women need a few more regular medical exams than men, including pap smears and mammograms. Make sure you’re getting these screenings as recommended by your primary care physician.
Typically, regular mammograms are recommended beginning at age 40 and pap smears for cervical cancer are done when a woman becomes sexually active.
In addition to receiving mammograms, you should also conduct a breast examination of yourself monthly.
5. Caring For Your Smile
Did you know that gum disease may increase your chances of developing cardiovascular problems? You may want to step up your oral care routine to ward off any problems with your teeth and gums and keep your smile bright and healthy.
See a dentist every six months for a check-up and cleaning. Brush at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. And don’t forget to floss—preferably at bedtime.
6. Curbing Alcohol Intake
Women are drinking more than ever, usually as a way to deal with stress. It’s fine to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the workweek (and red wine in moderation can be good for women), but just be careful not to let it turn into an excessive habit.
The dietary guidelines for moderate alcohol consumption for women are one drink per day, while men are allowed two daily. Make sure you’re not pouring more than a recommended serving. One serving of wine, for example, is five ounces.
7. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Staying within a healthy weight range is important, especially as you age. Keeping your weight down puts less stress on the heart, lungs, and joints. It can also lower the chances of developing diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
If you’re already eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, it’ll go a long way toward keeping your weight in check. Focus on maintaining a good weight range as you enter menopause when many women notice extra pounds coming up.
8. Drinking More Water
We’ve all heard how important it is to stay hydrated. Considering that our bodies are comprised of mostly water, we need it to keep our cells and organs functioning and our skin glowing. Drinking water also prevents us from getting dehydrated, which can make us tired and constipated.
If plain water is too bland for your taste, punch up the flavor with a squeeze of citrus juice or apple cider vinegar and herbs such as mint or rosemary. Sliced fruit or cucumbers can also make water more enjoyable. The bonus is you can eat the fruit afterward for added fiber and nutrients.
9. Having Sex
Yes, getting busy in the sheets can keep you healthy! Having sex not only helps strengthen the bond between you and your partner, but it can also bring down your stress and anxiety levels, especially if you orgasm.
Sex burns calories and gets your blood pumping. It also improves your immune system, so be sure to schedule some time with your honey a few times a week.
10. Spending Time With Loved Ones
Lastly, socializing with others and spending time with loved ones is important for our overall emotional health. Connecting with others and sharing a few laughs can go a long way toward helping us feel more positive about life. Studies have found that having an active social life fights chronic diseases and helps us recover faster from illnesses.
Even if you can’t see others in person, jumping onto a Zoom call with them may be that mood lifter you need.
Make These Health Practices a Regular Habit
Taking care of your health as a woman requires you to be proactive. Make these ten health practices a priority and you’ll be sure to enjoy a long, fulfilling life.
For more tips on staying healthy and always feeling your best, check out our health archives.