As women, we tend to forget about our bodies. We spend a ton of time working, caring for our families, and catering to the whims of others but – sadly – we neglect ourselves. The reality of the situation is that we’ll only ever get one body, so we should really be making more time to slow down, step back, and take care of ourselves. Making changes shouldn’t be difficult, nor should it be dramatic. Simply take it one step at a time, altering a habit here and there. Before you know it, you’ll feel healthier than ever and will have more time and energy to share with the ones you love. Here are some health tips to consider.
Understand Your Family History
A startling number of women know everything they need about their family health history. The reality of the situation is that your doctors will want to know about instances of illness, especially cancer and heart disease, so that they can determine if you are at higher risk for the development of certain ailments. Make it your job to know about the history of illness in your family – especially when it comes to your siblings, parents, and grandparents.
Go for a Walk
Most doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Did you know that exercise will not only help you to lose (or maintain) weight but can help you to age at a slower rate as well? Stress is a terrible thing and getting some exercise will help you to maintain a healthier metabolism while remaining relaxed and focused. Not motivated to go for a walk? Talk to a personal trainer about creating an exercise routine.
Take Care of Your Eyes
Do you spend the majority of your time in front of the computer screen at work? If so, you’ll want to take some time away from the screen to exercise your eyes. Some eye doctors recommend walking away from the computer and focusing on something at a far distance, like a picture down the hall. Others recommend doing some eye exercises, including eye rolls and looking left to right in succession. Adjust the brightness of your monitor as well, if you can. Doing so will decrease some of the strain you’re putting on your eyes.
You’ve probably heard it before but you’ll hear it again – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You’ve just spend a significant amount of time sleeping – the longest time between meals you ever go in a 24 hour period. Your body is in starvation mode and you need to eat to get things working properly again – and to avoid fat storage later on. Besides, you’ll need that fuel to get your kids and spouse out the door before you start your day.
Ditch the Artificial Sweeteners
There are plenty of studies comparing the effects of real sugar versus artificial sweeteners. At the end of the day, artificial sweeteners do have less (ok, zero) calories but they’re not necessarily better for you. The chemicals and sweetness will fool your body into expecting a sweet treat and can actually lead you to begin craving sugary foods. It’s better to use real sugar in moderation than it is to load up on artificial alternatives.
Add Fish Oil to Your Diet
You should never add supplements to your diet without talking to your doctor first but you should talk to your physician about taking fish oil. Fish oil has been found to reduce general inflammation and can reduce the risk of heart disease as well. It’s also great for the health of your hair and skin.
Sorry, ladies – but we had to say it. You simply need to stop smoking. A little bit of time – time you could spend with your family and loved ones – is shaved off of your life expectancy for every cigarette you smoke. Talk to your doctor about which cessation tools, like the nicotine patch or gum, might work best for you. You might even want to consider trying hypnosis, therapy, or a support group. Finding a new fitness program may help you to alleviate some of the stress associated with quitting, too.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body needs water. Period. End of statement. A dehydrated body cannot function properly. You need water to hydrate your cells, to flush toxins out of your body, and for energy. As a woman, you should be drinking at least 8-12 cups of water each day. Add an extra cup of water for each cup of caffeine you drink.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Doctors and health organizations have spent a lot of time educating the public about the dangers associated with sodium (salt) consumption. Try to scale back your sodium intake by cutting out salty snacks and foods. Talk to your doctor about adding a potassium supplement to your diet as well. Potassium can help to counteract the sodium in your system, preventing complications like high blood pressure.
Take Some Time Off
When’s the last time you scheduled a vacation day or – uh – called our sick? Maybe it’s time to come down with a cold, curl up in bed, and relax with a book and a cup of hot tea – all day long. Seriously, though. Most women feel so pressured at work they hesitate to take a sick day, even when they really do need one. Don’t let your employer make you feel guilty about taking some time off when you are ill. Your body needs time to heal and recover and pushing yourself to work will only make you feel worse.