For as much as our society likes easy answers, we sure don't seem to appreciate simplicity when it comes to health and wellness.
Here's the thing, though — health and wellness don't have to be difficult. And especially for those of us who are balancing careers, families and friendships, we need to feel comfortable with simplifying our health routines and embracing those healthy habits that we can easily fit into our schedules.
According to Registered Dietitian Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD, CNSC, of Nature Made®, these are the eight easy health solutions that even the busiest women can start today.
1. Eat a well-balanced diet
When it comes to nutrition, it's all about balance and variety. "Try to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, and stick to lean proteins, legumes, whole grains and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado," Zagorin says.
2. Move your body
Exercise doesn't have to turn into a bleak affair. According to Zagorin, you should regularly exercise, but you get to decide what that means for you. It could be gardening, running or even chasing your child at the park. The American Heart Association suggests 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week for overall cardiovascular health — it's that simple.
3. Kick the diet restrictions
It's hard to avoid the media attention to quick diet fixes and extreme nutrition plans, but Zagorin says these solutions aren't in your best interest. "Restricting several types of foods to lose weight is hard to maintain and may not be beneficial in the long run," she explains. "Eat a variety of foods and don't feel bad about indulging once in a while."
4. Banish bad habits
Zagorin says that if you smoke, you should consider completing a smoking cessation program. And if you drink, take it easy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, quitting smoking is directly linked to a reduced risk for a number of diseases — and women should generally avoid drinking an average of more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
5. Take your supplements
If you think you have gaps in your diet, you're not alone. According to national studies, most women have several nutrient gaps in their diets. "Most women would benefit from a multivitamin, calcium, vitamin D and fish oil supplement," Zagorin says. Consider adding the right supplements to your daily routine, like Nature Made Multi for Her plus Omega-3s Adult Gummies for daily nutritional support, helping to fill key nutrient gaps.
6. Sleep to your heart's content
It's pretty normal for my girlfriends to talk about sleeping only five to seven hours per night, but Zagorin says it's simply not enough for women. "Most women require seven to nine hours of sleep per night," she explains. If you know you're deficient on sleep, try to supplement with a 20-minute nap now and then, or ask for support from family to carve out more time to sleep at night.
7. Schedule your checkups
Regular health exams will help find problems before they start, so they're important to schedule. Just book your checkups, and ask for time off in advance. You could even just schedule a day for health checkups so you don't have to take off additional time from work. At the very least, the National Institute of Health suggests a yearly well-woman check, and a yearly physical that checks BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels for diabetes. You will also need to add a mammogram at 40 and colonoscopy at 50.
8. Nix the chronic stress
Finally, Zagorin says that chronic stress is terrible for your health, but it's pretty hard to avoid when you're constantly busy with career and family obligations. Unfortunately, the American Psychological Association reports that chronic stress can increase anxiety, muscle pain, blood pressure and feelings of malaise, so it's important to troubleshoot. "Take time to yourself to relax and unwind," Zagorin suggests. If you don't know what relaxes you, make it a priority to find out by visiting a counselor or social worker for a few sessions.
This post was brought to you by Nature Made®.