As challenging as our lives may seem at times, adopting healthier habits and preventative measures doesn’t have to be. There are a number of easy lifestyle changes women in all stages of life can adopt in order to lead healthier lives.

Here, we highlight three key areas that can have a tremendous impact on the physical and mental health of women of all ages.

The importance of exercise and nutrition

No matter your age, physical activity, and a balanced nutrition are the cornerstones of good health and energy levels. Generally, you should try to be active for at least 30 minutes daily and spread out physical activity over three days a week. Regular exercise helps lower the risk for heart disease, strokes, and other conditions, while at the same time helping to alleviate symptoms of depression, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Exercising also contributes to better sleeping routines and can even boost weight loss.

A regular exercise routine should be accompanied by a balanced diet. Some staple foods that are the basis of any healthy diet, regardless of age, are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. And to ensure that you’re drinking enough water, start and end your day by drinking a big glass of water and try to drink a total of eight 8-ounce glasses throughout the day. On the other hand, processed foods, fast food, sugars, saturated fat, excessive amounts of salt, and alcohol should be avoided whenever possible.

Here are some things to think about as our body’s needs change over time. The key component in our teenage diet should be calcium, which is found in dark green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, or in low-fat dairy products. Calcium is important for teenagers as they’re growing. When you reach your 20s and 30s, upping the consumption of leafy vegetables and dark greens increases the amount of folic acid in the body. Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C and iron are important for bone strength, as well as strengthening your immune system. Women in their 40s and 50s should increase their intake of vegetables that contain fibers, omega-3 oils, vitamin D and calcium.

Many health issues can be prevented, and you can maximize your wellbeing all the way throughout your life. In addition to reducing risk of disease, a balanced, nutrient-rich diet provides the much-needed energy for leading busy daily lives. Make an appointment at the Jean McLaughlin Women’s Center today to learn more about treatments and personalized care.

Prioritize mental health and overall wellbeing

Overall wellbeing is largely determined by good mental health. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2021, over one in five women in the U.S. experienced a mental health disorder. Of the 52.9 million adults in the U.S. who were treated for a mental illness in 2020, the percentage of women in treatment was almost 50 percent higher than that of men.

Long-term stress and societal pressures on women are regarded as major driving forces that lead to mental and physical health problems, such as high blood pressure and obesity, or exacerbate already existing conditions, particularly anxiety and depression.

To limit the negative impacts of stress and pressures of daily life on your health, you should find what helps you best manage stressful situations—breathing exercises, meditation, walks in nature, therapy, or engaging in hobbies may help. But if you feel like changes in your moods, thoughts and behaviors are interfering with your daily life, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional and seek support.

Get regular medical checkups and screenings

A healthy diet, exercising and stress management are great steps towards living a healthy life. However, without receiving preventative services, such as checkups and screenings, issues may arise and stay undetected until it’s too late. In their early stages, illnesses like cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis can be easily treated, or even eliminated—the later these conditions get detected, the harder treatment and recovery become. Make an appointment at the Jean McLaughlin Women’s Center to take preventative measures today.

It's estimated that less than 10 percent of American adults above 35 receive recommended screenings, checkups and vaccinations. Depending on a woman’s age, different screenings are recommended. The timing and types of screenings also depend on your personal and your family medical history. Pap smears, human papilloma virus (HPV) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) tests are among the earliest screenings women should get, starting in their late teenage years or early twenties. Typically, around age 50 your doctor may recommend colonoscopies, full body skin checks, diabetes tests and mammograms. Speak to your doctor about when the best time is for your checkups as they vary based on family history and additional health needs.

By seeing your healthcare provider for yearly checkups, you can assure that you receive all the necessary screenings, vaccinations and treatments in line with your medical background and age group. It’s essential that you schedule these checkups even though you might feel perfectly healthy—they not only serve to avoid problems in the future, they also frequently discover hidden issues in otherwise healthy people.

Palomar Health’s world-class physicians and nurses are here to help you boost healthy habits. Click here to learn more about Palomar Health and book an appointment at the Jean McLaughlin Women’s Center here

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