In celebration of Women’s Health Week, make your health a priority and commit to taking better care of yourself. Consider adding these five positive habits to your life to experience improved well-being.
1. Maintain close relationships
Connecting with others can lead to better health and a longer life, according to Harvard Medical School. Not just the connections themselves, but the quality of the relationships is critically important and can affect mental and physical health.
When you feel connected to others, you are less likely to experience illnesses due to stress. Psychology Today states that the simple act of hugging can promote good health. It reduces your blood pressure and makes you less stressed, thereby reducing the chances of getting sick.
During this time of social distancing, this may become a virtual hug carried out on video chat or text. Make good use of your hug emoji!
All of this research points to the importance of satisfying relationships in your life. Increase the amount of time you spend with friends and family, either in person or using today’s virtual communication tools.
2. Eat healthy
Eating better food seems like a no brainer for improving your health. The adage “You are what you eat” really does apply in this case. The Office on Women’s Health suggests that the food choices we make daily affect us not only now, but later in life.
What is healthy eating? It boils down to eating the right things (food groups), at the right time (not snacking, stages of life) at the right amount for you (calories).
Choosing types of food from all of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins) is the first important step. Then make sure you are consuming the right amount of calories for your body. The Office on Women’s Health offers a MyPlate Plan tool, which provides personalized recommendations for your food plan.
3. Get physical
We have heard the benefits of exercising and staying fit, including preventing muscle and bone loss, delaying health conditions such as heart disease, and improving mental health to name a few.
Being physically active, according to the Office on Women’s Health, means increasing your resting heart rate for at least 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week, with at least 10 minutes of activity at a time.
This can be done in any number of ways, including walking, gardening, and even taking care of small children. Both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities should be included. Commit to just 15 minutes of movement per day. You will most likely find that it will gradually increase to 30 minutes or more and leave you feeling energized.
4. Get regular health checkups and screenings
Health screening and checkups are critical. They allow for finding problems early so that treatment can occur effectively. The National Library of Medicine recommends visiting your health care provider, even if you are healthy, to screen for medical issues regularly.
Not only does this allow you to develop a relationship with the provider, but it also provides an ongoing assessment of your risk for future medical problems and an opportunity to update vaccinations.
Harvard Medical School references a screening guide published by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force which recommends the following screening tests and procedures:
- Blood pressure
- Bone density (osteoporosis)
- Cancers including breast, cervical, colorectal, and skin
- Lipid profile (cholesterol)
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Check out the Well-Woman Care Chart developed by the Women’s Preventative Services Initiative. Being proactive in practicing preventative healthcare helps you live a longer, healthier life.
5. Keep things clean and organized
Many studies confirm the idea that cleanliness supports overall health. Scientific studies quoted in Psychology Today confirm that the more organized we are, the healthier we will be.
No matter why this is true, we feel better about ourselves when things are clean and organized. We are generally more productive and less stressed.
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