Health is not a final destination; it is a lifestyle we chose to participate in every day. There are certain determinants of health that are largely, if not entirely, out of our control. Our genetic makeup and biology have major bearing on our overall wellbeing, as do any number of socioeconomic factors, and your access to high-quality care.
Experts say one sure way for every woman to stay healthy is to find time for exercises. If you are one of those women who neglect physical exercises, then you need to do a rethink. It is no secret the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that everybody should imbibe the culture of exercise so as to live a healthy life. Arguably, women are still, by and large, the caregivers in our society and overload themselves with responsibilities and duties. Regular physical activity is vital for good physical and mental health.
It helps improve your overall health and fitness, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for many chronic diseases and promote good mental health. “The number one thing women can do to maintain their health and keep disease at bay is exercise daily,” says Molly Brewer, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UConn Health, who recommends all women exercise 30 minutes per day. It will not only improve your cardiovascular health but also help you maintain a healthy weight, body mass index, and lower your risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer, which are all linked with obesity”.
It is been said before, but it is worth saying again: you are what you eat. Staying healthy requires eating healthy every day. Treat your body with the respect it deserves. Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Once your body is accustomed to the deliciousness of real food, you may lose your interest in sugary snacks and fast food, experts say. Also, eating a healthy daily dose of nutritious, colourful fruits and vegetables is key to preventing and lowering your risk of developing breast and other women’s cancers fuelled by obesity. “Women should minimise the processed foods they eat from a box,” says Alex Merkulov, a radiologist at the Beekley Imaging Centre of the Women’s Centre at UConn Health. “Natural, whole and fresh foods are always the best choices. Also, avoid fried foods, which often contain trans-fats, and reach for foods and snacks low in saturated fats, sugar, and salt. More so, a new study has found that women who eat more fresh fruit produce have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who eat less.
Always prioritise sleep. The list of reasons sleep matters is as long as it is varied, but the bottom line is, it is a basic human need. And on the whole, women don’t get enough of it: A new study found that women’s brains work harder than men’s, so they need more sleep. Scientists found that around 20 minutes more sleep was needed by women compared to men – and said this was thought to be because the female brain works harder during the day. Thus, healthy women know that getting enough sleep, and ensuring it is high-quality (meaning not disrupted by text messages, or glowing lights from electronics, for example) are critical factors in keeping their minds and bodies strong, and do everything they can to get plenty of rest.
In the same vein, women should watch their alcohol consumption. The fact is, alcohol affects women differently than men. Women are more vulnerable to its effects, even if they drink less, and those potential effects are serious: Women who regularly consume more than about seven drinks a week are at greater risk for serious injuries, hypertension, stroke and even cancer. Scientists have discovered that women produce smaller quantities of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which is released in the liver and breaks down alcohol in the body. “That vulnerability is why we see increases in medical problems in women with alcohol-use disorders, compared to men,” says Dawn Sugarman, a psychology professor at Harvard Medical School and addiction psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, USA.
Interestingly, health is not only about your body. Mental health is as important for you as physical health. Also, the things that happen inside your head are at least as important as the food you eat. Experts recommend that women participate in mentally engaging tasks that will strengthen their mind every day. Perhaps, if you are looking for a way to escape from the constant onslaught of anxiety, annoyance, anger, self-doubt, restlessness and inner self-talk that are triggered by everyday stresses, consider meditation. Think about this: mute your cell-phone, turn off the TV, move away from your computer and just breathe. Also, planning mental games such as chess and answering crossword puzzles has been found to prevent cognitive decline and improve memory.