Five Tips for Taking Care of your Health
Women approaching middle age have challenges in terms of staying fit, strong, and healthy, taking care of nutrition, and having a wellness-focused lifestyle. Common stressors at this age (35 to 55) include family issues (caring for children and/or elderly parents), work and professional changes (ramping up or decreasing involvement, depending on your desires), health issues such as dealing with declining metabolism, doctor-prescribed diet changes, and general lifestyle changes like moving, career shifts, or the launch of a new project or business.
Your health is one of your greatest assists. Here are five maintenance steps for taking care of your health:
1) Schedule a regular checkup with your doctor or health care provider. An annual pap smear, breast exam, blood and urine tests, and an overall assessment of your health will help with your maintenance plan. Put fears to rest, make a list of questions, and get honest, expert opinions from a trusted source.
2) Review your eating plan. Prevention is the key, and maintenance of a target weight can be as easy as incorporating more fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), eating whole grains and pulses, focusing on fresh rather than processed foods, and shopping at your local farmer's market. Keeping strong bones, healthy skin, good teeth, and feeling well means making sure what goes into your body is the best available food and drink.
3) Develop your exercise regimen. Fitness means being able to run around with your young children or being able to support the weight of your parents as they go up the stairs. Fitness means being able to have energy and "pep" throughout the day. Fitness means being able to walk stairs and hiking trails, or to lift heavy items on your own, or to run, bike, and swim actively. Don't have time? Make this a priority - even a 45-minute period of sustained activity every day will help you keep your body alert and optimized.
4) Be aware of pre menopause symptoms. The change in hormones associated with menopause may lead to increased anxiety and irritability, mood swings, depression, a marked change in appetite or food cravings, bloating and general discomfort, hot/cold flashes, and insomnia or night sweats. Ask your health care provider's advice on how to navigate this next phase.
5) Reduce stress. If you have an ongoing source of stress such as a job where you're unhappy, or unresolved financial or personal issues, consider finding a way to change your situation or revised your life plan to incorporate more healing, healthy, and life-supporting decisions. Stress hormones can lead to more damaging long-term problems. Find and remove or minimize the stressors in your life for a more balanced and calm outlook.
Maintain a positive frame of mind and take good care of your body, which will carry you through middle age and into an active, strong, focused retirement and beyond.