It’s National Women’s Health Week! This week is dedicated to helping women live the healthiest and best life possible through policy implementation, education and programs.
To celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of diet and exercise adjustments you might consider adding to your lifestyle. Of course, every woman is different, and age can determine many health factors and diet choices. Take a look at these helpful tips:
Your 20’s: Hello Adulthood
Many health and diet decisions you make in your 20’s carry with you into middle age, but most 20 year olds aren’t thinking about long-term health! You’re figuring out your passions, starting your career, working long hours at entry-level jobs and juggling family pressures and romantic stress. Healthy eating and exercise usually get left at the bottom of the totem pole; however, being aware of what you’re putting into your body now will yield beneficial results in the long run.
Experts suggest that eating healthy in your 20’s reduces the risk of developing heart disease later in life. Set aside processed foods that are high in sodium and full of unnecessary sugars. Instead, start learning to cook at home. Buying from the grocery store is a cheaper and much healthier option than eating out – you’re picking what’s goes into your body! Choose fruits, veggies, lean meat and take control of portion sizes. Don’t know where to start? Try these Pinterest boards for healthy meal options that are easy to cook at home.
Thirty, flirty and thriving, right?
Of course! Your 30’s are an exciting time in your life, but you may be noticing some slight changes. Itty bitty wrinkles may be starting to appear and the scale may be tricking you as it tips ever so slightly. This is because new skin cells aren’t developing as quickly, and your metabolism is slowing down. In order to combat these tiny – yet perfectly normal – annoyances, use light moisturizers for a clean and fresh-looking face. Stay cautious of the time you spend in the sun and invest in some SPF 50+ sunscreen. Eating healthy and maintaining an aerobic exercise regimen has never been so critical.
Many women in their 30’s have babies or have the idea of starting a family at the front of their mind. If you’re thinking about starting a family after the age of 35, be aware of the risks associated with becoming pregnant. Be sure to consult your physician.
Conquering “The Hill”
It’s no joke – staying fit in your 40’s is a challenge, but we know you’re up for it! Part of the problem is trying to find time to workout. A busy family life and a 9 to 5 job make us believe that we can’t workout or have to find a very small chunk of time at night. Studies have found, however, that working out in the mornings has incredible benefits! Morning exercise gives us energy, puts us in a positive mindset to attack the day ahead and contributes to a more consistent and better night’s sleep.
Also, exercising can decrease your risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease, so it’s time to get active! Keep your metabolism in-check by dedicating time to working your fast-twitch muscle fibers – the muscles responsible for maintaining power and strength. Try jumping, sprinting and explosive circuits to keep your muscles toned and your metabolism feeling youthful. You can even join yoga classes to increase flexibility and lower stress levels.
The Big 5-0
One of the biggest changes you’ll experience in your 50’s is menopause. This comes with hot flashes, trouble sleeping and becoming more susceptible to health complications. You can meet these changes with preventative methods. Keep up with medical check-ups with your physician. This includes getting your pap-test, thyroid exam, mammogram, as well as checking your blood pressure, blood glucose among other tests.
Getting enough sleep is a great answer to lowering stress, feeling more energized, better memory retention and preventing illness. Start each day with a walk or exercise, which contributes to mental health and brain power, and be aware of what you’re putting into your body. Dark greens, fruit, fish, poultry and whole grains have been proven to lower the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Yogurt and good bacteria lower the risk of colon cancer and keep other body functions running smoothly. Your diet should be filled with a variety of nutrients that boost your immune system. To make sure you’re getting all of them, take a multivitamin that includes zinc, iron, folic acid and vitamins B6, B12, C, D and E.
Welcome to the 60’s and Beyond
The habits you developed early in life are carrying over into your 60’s – you’re beginning to realize that your nutrient-rich diet and habit of exercising Monday through Friday has its many benefits. If you’re not practicing these routines, it’s never too late to make a change and take note of other health additions that you could be doing.
Physical activity is very important. Getting aerobic exercise most days of the week – walking, swimming, gardening – sharpens your muscles, brain and mind. Studies show that exercise lowers the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also increases your oxygen intake, loosens your joints and controls blood sugar.
Many women in their 60’s have a deficiency of vitamin B12 and vitamin D. These are essential supplements that if neglected, can result in a number of health complications. Make sure your diet includes enough nutrients and fiber. Beans, broccoli, berries, pears and cereal are great sources of fiber, and will help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Maintaining a healthy diet and an active exercise regimen can be tricky, and some days, we just don’t have the motivation to hit the gym. However, a healthy lifestyle practiced from an early age reaps so many benefits, it’s hard to ignore!