Regardless of age or what stage of life a woman is in, she should understand that part of taking charge of her health involves learning how to protect it for the years to come.
The four suggestions below are keys every woman can focus on now to improve her health and wellness through middle age, retirement and beyond:
Schedule regular check-ups with an OB/GYN.
Regular check-ups are one of the keys to keeping yourself healthy. Getting regular checkups are one of the best ways to help reduce your risk for illness and help physicians detect problems early when treatments are more effective. For women, regular checkups should include making an appointment with a women’s care specialist, such as a gynecologist. Scheduling a visit with a women’s care specialist helps you take better control of your health and provides an opportunity for you to discuss any questions you may have about your health. You can also learn about any preventative screenings and exams you may need and at what age you need to consider having them.
Focus on eating healthy.
Life can be busy, which doesn’t always make it easy to eat well. But having a healthy diet can have a big impact on your health and can reduce your risk for major health problems like diabetes and heart disease. When it comes to what you eat, you don’t have to make drastic changes all at once. Start small. Focus on adding more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein to your plate. Limit the sugary sodas and drink more water. Try to save sweets for special occasions. Skip the fast food line and opt to have your meals at home. If you’re looking for healthier meal options or snack ideas, there are tons of easy healthy recipes in Tanner’s free Health Library.
While exercising may not be your favorite thing to do, it does have its benefits and can improve a woman’s physical and mental health. Exercise has been shown to lower the risk for heart disease, which is a leading cause of death for women. Physical activity also releases endorphins (the natural, feel-good chemical our bodies produce), which makes you feel happier. Physical activity doesn’t always mean hitting the gym for hours at a time — you can get enough physical activity in just 30-45 minutes a day. To make it easy, think of ways to get active that work with your lifestyle, and set reasonable goals. Try taking a brisk morning jog, a lunchtime walk or an afternoon bike ride with a friend.
Don’t neglect your mental health.
Mental health can have a big impact your overall health and wellness. Stress is a factor of life, but left unchecked, it can contribute to raising your risk of depression, anxiety and other health problems, and can affect your sleep, mood and more — especially as you age. Your day may be inundated with work, family, appointments and more, but be sure to take time for yourself to de-stress. Make time to do something you enjoy.
Whether it’s time for your check-up, you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, or you’re just consulting about living a healthier lifestyle, an OB/GYN can provide care for all of that and more. It's never too early or too late to take control of your health and wellness.