Let’s face it, the fact that women can grow another human being inside of them is nothing short of amazing.
Because of this, their brains and bodies are constructed differently than men, mainly from a hormonal perspective.
The monthly cycle women endure does affect the female body as well as emotional and physical side effects that come with this, i.e., PMS.
Then after a certain age, this cycle goes away and a whole new process of menopause sets in, bringing forth a new set of side effects, e.g., hot flashes, night sweats, forgetfulness.
If we start on the right track, then we have a much better chance of staying on it, knowing what to do and how, and making health a lifestyle rather than a fix-it every time something happens.
Regardless of age or what cycle of life a woman is experiencing, here are 12 tips women of any age should try to abide by…
1. Get your yearly physical done
Every year it is important, in fact, vital, that women have their screening done of their overall health. The main reason is to find problems early on and to prevent problems.
This helps you lessen the severity or avoid diseases and disabilities. This helps having a better plan for treatment and gives more time to explore effective treatment options.
You don’t want to be trying to make up for lost time or fighting to erase damage your body has endured.
Having these yearly check-ups includes a comprehensive blood panel. This way all levels can be checked to detect any deficiencies and either start to supplement or take action accordingly.
Having these screenings can look for any sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), hepatitis C, and then after certain ages, particular tests become necessary.
Women in their 20s need an annual pelvic and breast exam. Then after age 21, women should have a Pap test every 3 years or HPV test every 5 years.
Mammograms should start at age 40 or earlier depending on medical history. These exams will either be performed annually or twice a year depending on doctor’s recommendations.
Innocence is not bliss when it comes to your health, so being aware and knowledgeable about your body is very important.
Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean inside turmoil or stress isn’t occurring. The only way to find out is to get these exams and not having them done can lead to more cumbersome exams trying to address a serious problem that could have been detected earlier.
2. Eat healthy
Although this seems like a simple, general recommendation, eating healthy means eating lean meats, complex and fiber filled carbohydrates, green vegetables, as well as fresh fruits.
Poor nutrition can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer.
Eating fast foods can lead to having an excess of fat, sodium, calories, and sugar in your diet.
It can be easy to develop a habit of eating out and doing what is quick and convenient.
Often women aren’t just responsible for feeding themselves, but their family needs food in their mouths too.
Pleasing everyone’s tastes buds and doing so in an affordable and time-friendly fashion, is no easy feat.
We might have grown up in a household where if we didn’t like what was for dinner, we went to bed hungry.
However, you can’t do that every night. Ordering a pizza versus cooking up some baked chicken, rice, and vegetables doesn’t have the same preparation time or nutrition value.
That’s where the art of prioritizing your health comes in.
Besides this, it is sending a message to your family that eating right is a must and that even if dinner is served a little later, it’s because eating the right foods versus pulling over and picking something up or having it delivered is more important.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be fancy and it can be quite simple, you just have to get the idea out of your head that every night a new recipe and new list of ingredients has to be made.
Leftovers are your friend, and the freezer is too. Make extra so that you can take some for lunch the next day or have some again for dinner the next night.
Variety is nice, but reality is that you have of variety as not an everyday occurrence. Look at variety as a few different things a week versus a few different things per day.
Shop this way too. Stock up on things for one week then get a new set to stock up on the following week. That is variety and that is healthy eating.
3. Get Physical Activity
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise is recommended.
This is a good baseline and more or less can be done based on intensity and type. Doing resistance training two to three times a week is also recommended.
This can help prevent cardiovascular disease as well as osteopenia and osteoporosis for women because women are vulnerable to do decreased bone density with age.
Your body appreciates movement, i.e., movement is medicine. Sitting which is a sedentary lifestyle is a silent killer. Hours upon hours are spent sitting, be it at work or in the car.
Get up for small breaks during the day, walk and talk on the phone, get a standing desk, walk the perimeter of our kid’s practice instead of waiting in the car or while they’re playing at the park, bike with your kids, take the stairs, park further away, go run the errands yourself versus having them delivered, join a local gym, do home videos for workouts, you can see the options are many.
With so many options, the room for excuses becomes smaller and smaller.
Physical activity is also a good mental break from life’s stressors. It is self-care that feels good. It can be a therapeutic way to work out the stress and release positive endorphins.
Again, it is setting an example for your family that exercise is needed and should be done. You can also workout with your friends, so it takes care of social time and physical activity all at once.
You can also workout with your significant other, which again is another way to spend time together.
Not only this, but if you don’t lose it you lose it. Muscles do atrophy and body mechanics falter. Physical activity should be a lifestyle.
When we are younger, we might enjoy different types versus when we are older, but the key is having the body in motion.
Sometimes people take long vacations from exercise, realizing how hard it is to get back into shape. Exercise also helps promote a healthy body weight that your joints appreciate during operation.
4. Keep close relationships
Even the most introverted people need human attention to a certain degree. Covid 19 revealed that our connections with others are fragile, and we must appreciate those who are in our circle.
Having people in your corner is a healthy practice of sharing good times, bad times, asking for advice, asking for help, laughing, and sharing new experiences together.
Inevitably, relationships come and go but we typically find a special few that are life lasting.
Those are what we need to focus on keeping close. Sometimes life happens and connection might go away for some time, and those friendships that are lasting endure even when communication falters.
You just don’t know what can happen and that is why having people to turn to is incredibly important.
These can be family members or people who feel like family. There aren’t exactly rules that apply about who is in your corner, rather, it is shown over time.
5. Don’t smoke
Tobacco and nicotine are detrimental to a woman’s health and appearance. At no age should you smoke, and at any age you can get hooked.
It’s such a bad habit that is really hard to ditch. Smoking can cause cancer, can lead to stroke, can cause infertility, and leaves quite the impression on your skin.
Pre-mature aging of the skin shows in the lines on a woman’s face and on her chest. Skin in these areas is thinner, so deep wrinkles can form and this doesn’t just happen as you get older, but it does get worse with age.
Smoking also stains your teeth and leaves its smell on your breath and clothing. Smoking in your car or home leaves a lingering smell as well and can even stain your furniture and curtains.
It’s an expense to your pocket and health you do not need to be making. As with other lifestyle choices, it is also good to be a role model to others that smoking is a “no-no”.
Plus, it stains your teeth too. So, it really isn’t an attractive quality, rather smoking causes damage on both the interior and exterior of your body.
6. Always carry hand-sanitizer with you
Keep your germs to yourself and keep other people’s germs away from you. That’s certainly a lesson you have learned from the pandemic.
When we are out and about, there isn’t always a place to wash our hands or that we need actually go to a public restroom filled with germs to wash our hands.
Think of the many, many things you touch all the time. Even when pumping gas, typing in your debit card pin, your cell phone, your purse touches many surfaces, you touch places other people have touched all the time and we don’t always think about it.
Little things like coins, doorknobs, knobs on a sink or paper towel dispenser, the list continues practically in definitely.
Hand sanitizer is a good way to quickly solve a germ problem and most of the time the bottles claim 99.9% effective.
Yes, soap and water are the protocol and most effective, however, this is a plan that will actually keep you cleaner if you weren’t readily washing your hands at the sink when sometimes you knew you should have.
Oh yeah, and the computer, that is a big one too that you are constantly touching. The point is, we don’t want to get sick, we can’t afford to get sick, and we don’t have time to get sick. At the workplace, home, school, gym, wherever you are, carry that sanitizer.
7. Get your rest
Sleep is fabulous but sometimes put on the back burner and sacrificed due to life’s demands. Staying up later and/or getting up early come with the territory of adulthood.
We don’t always get to make a schedule that calls for 7 or 8 hours of sleep, despite the fact that our body really appreciate this. Naps sometimes have to do the trick.
We know that some of us are not morning people and some of us are not night people, but we are all given the same 24 hours in a day.
When and how we spend those hours is up to us and carving out the hours to sleep needs to be taken into high consideration.
I don’t know anyone who just loves setting their alarm in the morning. Retirement sounds nice to just wake up when the body wants to.
During sleep is when our bodies recovery, our brain recharges, our digestion takes place, and we let our body recuperate from all that it has to do for us.
Unplug your body. When we don’t do this, we are putting our immune systems at risk, can cause ourselves to be moody, forgetful, or irritable, and might even eat more than we should.
Rest is a must and it doesn’t make anyone weak or lazy. Think of it as plugging in you charger to get more energy. Sleeping is not wasted time at all. It adds time to your health.
8. Make time for your hobbies
What’s life without interests and likes that we can envelope ourselves into and enjoy? Sports teams, crafts, cooking, working out, shopping, you name it.
You can also have more than one. Our hobbies are fun when we are young and when we age, that doesn’t mean we ditch them.
Time for you and what you like to do is very important because when we focus on everything else that we have to do, we get angry and bitter, feeling like we never get what we want to do.
This builds up and then when we finally decide to go to the movies because we want to and like to or to start knitting again, we are reminded why we used to do it in the first place.
Growing old doesn’t mean you don’t get to have fun anymore. Your hobbies are part of your personality and character.
It is a good outlet, and you can also meet people with similar interest you have whether in person or online.
Seeing the world gives us appreciation for what we have, what we don’t have, and what we need. Seeing other people in other places and how they live can be an eye-opening experience.
Experiences are what travel is all about. We learn about different cultures and people and that lesson in diversity is so important.
As kids we went on family vacations and totally recall those memories of our families in adulthood. We want these experiences for our young ones.
As we age, we become more mature to see the world from a different lens. We can try new things, taste new foods, explore new places, learn new things, and take a break from our day to day lives.
It’s nice to try new things and that is what travel is all about. It can be by plane, boat, or car. It can come in many types like cruises, tours, excursions, or just camping.
These experiences teach us so much and sometimes we learn more about the people we travel with or more about ourselves when we choose to travel alone.
It is quite the entertainment too. Yes, it takes time and money and when you think about it, traveling versus acquiring possessions is a whole new opportunity to develop ourselves and educate ourselves about who, with who, where, and what we want to do with our lives.
10. Help others and seek help when needed
Sometimes we have to humble ourselves, swallow our pride, and get help. Being independent and self-sufficient is admirable and a great quality to have, however, taken to the point of over working and stressing yourself diminishes this.
Between all of life’s demands, balance is a tough battle for many. We have home, work, and personal life all at once.
The to-do list can be daunting and long. You have this to do and that to do and so little time to do it.
How many times are you going to set yourself up for spreading yourself too thin amongst all of these things? Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or being incapable of doing things yourself.
It is actually a strategic, smart, and productive approach to doing everything you both want and need to do.
Help can be in the form of getting tasks done or it can be in the form of speaking with a counselor or therapist.
How many times have you offered to help someone else? In turn, why don’t think it is okay to be on the receiving end of help? Seems silly but we do this all the time.
We set ourselves up to help others, only taking on more or ourselves, and then when we need the help we don’t ask or don’t want to burden someone else.
It’s strange but sometimes you have to think about this this way…. hiring help is giving someone a job and someone volunteering to help you is giving someone a volunteering of act of kindness for them. Don’t be so stubborn
11. Have positive body image
Rule of thumb: Your body hears what your mind is thinking. That being said, be kind to yourself. We are our own worst critics.
Ever stood in front of a mirror and picked yourself apart? You highlight on what you don’t like about yourself but forget to focus on what you do like.
We all have our own lists of pros and cons and what we want to get rid of, improve, or keep. If you don’t like something, then change it.
Be realistic about changing and what that entails. You can contemplate changing all you want, but putting the wheels is motion only arrives at the results.
Therefore, don’t complain if you aren’t going to do what needs to be done. You know what outfits you have that are flattering, what looks best when you do your hair, what style of jeans or tops look best, etc.
Play to your strengths which then plays to your body image. Self-destructive thoughts only lead to lack of confidence, wanting to isolate, and feeling down and out.
Don’t do that. Which leads to my next point. Compliment yourself, and then of course compliment others.
12. Compliment others
It feels nice when someone gives us a compliment. It is a kind confidence booster for sure.
We might tell ourselves we aren’t looking for or don’t need compliments, but they are a feel-good set of words that can’t be denied.
That is why we should give compliments to others. This can even be to a complete stranger.
Let’s say you see someone at work every single day and notice their weight loss efforts. By all means, tell them you see how hard they are trying and you see the results happening for them.
This can be motivating that the person because sometimes we know what it feels like to dress up cute or lose weight, and then no one says anything.
Whether we did it for ourselves and not anyone else, compliments still go appreciated. We might see the same people day after day so the changes only seem subtle or you get comfortable around people and no longer feel the need to compliment.
I think to some degree even Hollywood’s best actors like it when fans see them on the street and rant and rave about how great they are.
Different generation have had different experiences with health and what being healthy actually means. Years ago, we didn’t talk about calories, carbs, or processed foods.
The first mention of any of this was the start of fat-free or non-fat and using artificial sweeteners. T.V. dinners and Happy Meals weren’t considered bad for you, just a quick meal and the kids were happy when they got the toy.
When Starbucks first came out, people weren’t worried about what was actually in the Frappuccino.
Processed foods beginning with Wonder Bread made life easier and made after school snacks and Lunchables and easy strategy to feed the kids.
We then entered an era of GMO’s and first heard about cloning sheep and cows and what this meant when we ate meat.
That lead to being aware of how chickens were being raised. That lead to where fish are coming from and what’s in the water.
Eventually, the term “organic” came out. We were bombarded with Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Slim Fast shakes, especially at the new year.
What this all means, is that as we have aged, what being healthy means, has actually changed too. Now we hear about keto, paleo, and different diets and their claims.
As we age, types of exercise have also changed. The newest trends come and go. Women didn’t used to exercise at all, then they hula hooped, then they did synchronized swimming, and then Jazzercise and the gym era came.
Following these, Zumba and Peloton came out. Women also didn’t used to play sports or have professional sports leagues like basketball and soccer.
Now, there are Olympics teams with so many women role models.
Many times, the habits formed in childhood or how the household was ran, transcend into adulthood.
Those learned behaviors can be repeated. If you didn’t’ see your parent workout, you then didn’t know much about it and in adulthood never really go to the gym before.
Eating out might have been a staple for your family, while for others, a home cooked meal and eating as a family was routine.
Not everyone did recreational activities as children either so to age and then decide to exercise wouldn’t be totally common.
There is something to be said with being a role model of health for younger persons so that at any age they do establish healthy habits.
At any age, we are a better person to others when we are better to ourselves. Living a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically improves quality of life over the years.
We are constantly learning how to do this. That also is because we are constantly learning about the human body and of course over time we learn the effects of lifestyle choices, be them good or bad.
Usually, these lifestyle choices also influence who we spend our time with and/or what types of people we surround ourselves with.
That can then lead to who are spouse might be. Unhealthy relationships of any type can come and go in life but learning how to treat others should start at a young age. In turn, we learn how want to be treated.
In the end, they say it takes a village to raise someone. Think of the community you live in. it takes a community to call your home, that you spend your time in, and that you practice these healthy habits in.
At no age should we smoke, at early ages we should become active, at all ages we should eat healthy, at all age we should try to have positive body image, at all ages we should ask for help if and when needed, and travel can start at any age too.
At any age we can use hand sanitizer and enjoy hobbies. Compliments are always welcome no matter what age. Getting rest is always needed and going to the doctor starts at day one.
Over our lifespans we can fall on and off the healthy lifestyle roller coast. A lot of this has to do with situations and circumstances of life.
We do sit more when we get older and when we are younger, we do eat out more and not as healthy.
Age can’t be an excuse that we know we can get away with certain behaviors and still be okay. It can feel that way when you ate more junk food at a younger age and didn’t put on weight but now you do much more quicky.
Don’t take your health for granted because at any age it can change overnight. Reduce that risk and make healthy lifestyle choices as much as you can and as best as you can.