Staying healthy in this modern world might seem like a full time job in itself, but there are steps, especially for women, that can be taken to make the challenge at least manageable.
For women in Texas, and especially those living in the cities of Dallas, Houston and Austin, achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be broken down into manageable steps taken on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.
On a daily basis, one of the key issues those concerned with health can take is what they eat. Consuming foods that are rich in fruits and vegetables is known to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, notably because fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, and they are filling. By looking at what’s in season, you can add variety to your choices of fruits and vegetables. Supplement the eating of fruits and vegetables with lots of water.
At the same time, those concerned with health should cut down on the amount of salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat they consume.
As far as snacking is concerned, choosing those that are nutritious and filling is another smart choice.
Another daily choice for women seeking a healthier lifestyle is to focus on weight, specifically with a view to losing or maintaining weight through a balanced diet. Along with the choices already mentioned, portion control can be an effective way to manage weight.
Regular physical activity is also a way to substantially reduce the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death. Exercise can also decrease the risk for stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It also helps control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduces falls among older adults; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications.
Physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial; people of all ages can benefit from participating in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week.
A key strategy for improving and maintaining health can be to quit smoking. People who quit smoking will generally live longer and live better. Quitting will lower a person’s chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or cancer. If you are pregnant, quitting smoking will improve your chances of having a healthy baby. The health benefits of quitting smoking extend to the people you live with, especially children in the home, who won’t be exposed to smoke and will be healthier as a result. There is also an economic benefits of not spending the money on tobacco products, but rather on savings or investing.
A healthier lifestyle can also be achieved by focusing on stress. Job stress in particular has become a common and costly problem in the American workplace, and few workers are untouched. While short-lived or infrequent times of stress pose little risk, when those stressful situations go unresolved, there is an increased rate of wear and tear to body systems. The result is fatigue or damage to the body’s ability to repair and defend itself becoming seriously compromised. When that happens, the risk of injury or disease escalates. There is evidence to suggest that stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems- especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and psychological disorders.
Other changes that women can make to their lifestyle will also improve their overall health. These include assessing and managing the amount of behavior known to be risky, such as being in a car without wearing a seat belt, or working in a job where personal protective equipment should be used but isn’t.
Enjoy the sun? Sun block will reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Is there a history of diabetes, heart disease or cancer in the family? Being aware of the risk is a first step in looking for ways to reduce those risks.
On a weekly and monthly basis, women concerned with their health should keep track of the daily steps they are taking to improve their health, marking their progress along the way. If progress isn’t as consistent as you want, start again and keep going, knowing that not every step or new routine is going to work for you.
For women, a monthly breast self-exam is an important routine to get into in establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Early detection of any possible problems is always a smart move.
On an annual basis, routine exams and screenings should be done, as should any appropriate vaccinations recommended by a physician.
Achieving and maintaining a person’s health requires determination, planning and perseverance.
Pat Carpenter writes for Precedent Insurance Company. Precedent puts a new spin on health insurance. Learn more at Precedent.com