As a woman, and human being in general, it is so extremely important that we maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep our mind, body, and soul in shape and in it’s best form. Not only should we look good but we must also make sure we feel good about ourselves—especially as we get older. There so many different health risks we face on yearly basis as our body and mind develops and ages that it doesn’t become enough to simply change the way we eat or exercise. The only way to combat these health risks is through one preventative measure: knowledge. Knowing and understanding the health risks you face in your 40’s is crucial if you plan on avoiding any of the leading causes of death for older women such as, cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc
Dieting…and not Dieting
There’s a reason the saying “you are what you eat” is famous. Because it’s true. Anything you consume will either do one of two things for your body: make you feel good or make you feel bad. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 60 percent of American women are overweight—and over one-third are obese. The good news is that dieting doesn’t have to mean crazy unappetizing foods and meal scheduling. It simply boils down to making better selections for your dinner plate, usually one with veggies, fruits, whole-grains, etc.
Many women in their 40’s are the “sandwich” caregivers. Meaning they look after both their children and their own elderly parents. These sandwichers are prone to suffering from “caregiving stress syndrome,” which can lead to obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Often these forms of caregivers are twice as likely to take up smoking to manage their stress and are 25 times more likely to binge drink. However, if stress as a caregiver is better managed with scheduled time off and good personal maintenance then the benefits could be better memory, better physical strength, and improved longevity all according to Boston University researchers.
Little to no sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, women suffer from troubled sleeping, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome more than men. Insufficient sleep makes a woman’s risk for hypertension twice as likely along with an increase risk for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—all of which can lead to a shorter life expectancy. The goal—and challenge—is to get no less than 5 hours of sleep each night but no more than 8.5 hours. Even though we couldn’t imagine it, too much sleep is as harmful for the body as too little sleep.
Sitting—in a chair/car
Whether you have a desk job or you’re a stay-at-home mom, chances are you spend most of your days sitting in some form for long periods of time. The down side is that no matter how active you are throughout the day, sitting for long periods of time can erase the benefits of that previous exercise. The upside is that stretching at work for not even a minute, or getting up to refill your beverage, can actually make a difference. The idea is to keep moving, even when you’re not moving. Staying active throughout the day, while also staying active when you’re not active, can lower your risk for heart disease.
Other known health risks, such as smoking and drinking, are no brainers in terms of what habits are bad for your health. But making the effort to take time out for yourself, get more rest, make better food selections, and be active can make a world of a difference in lowering your risk for a number of health problems. Taking the initiative to make better decisions is the first step in a happier and healthier you!