Women’s Health Tips for Heart, Mind

Looking for the path toward a healthier you? It’s not hard to find. The journey begins with some simple tweaks to your lifestyle. The right diet, exercise, and stress-relief plan all play a big role.

Follow a Heart-Healthy Diet

There’s an easy recipe if your goal is to keep away problems like heart disease and strokes.

  • Eat more fruits and veggies.
  • Choose whole grains. Try brown rice instead of white. Switch to whole wheat pasta.
  • Choose lean proteins like poultry, fish, beans, and legumes.
  • Cut down on processed foods, sugar, salt, and saturated fat.

When eating healthy, flexibility often works best, says Joyce Meng, MD, assistant professor at the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health. If you like to follow a strict diet plan, go for it. If not, it’s OK. “Find what works for you.”

Tricia Montgomery, 52, the founder of K9 Fit Club, knows first-hand how the right diet and lifestyle can help. For her, choosing healthy foods and planning small, frequent meals works well. “I don’t deny myself anything,” she says. “I still have dessert — key lime pie, yum! — and I love frozen gummy bears, but moderation is key.”

Exercise Every Day

The more active you are, the better, Meng says. Exercise boosts your heart health, builds muscle and bone strength, and wards off health problems.

Aim for 2 and a half hours of moderate activity, like brisk walking or dancing, every week. If you’re OK with vigorous exercise, stick to 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of things like running or playing tennis. Add a couple of days of strength training, too.

If you’re busy, try short bursts of activity throughout the day. Walk often. A good target is 10,000 steps a day. Take the stairs. Park your car far away from your destination.

Montgomery exercises every day, often with her dog. By adding lunges, squats, and stairs to a walk, she turns it into a power workout. “I also am a huge Pilates fan,” she says.

Lose Weight

When you shed pounds you’ll lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Factors of good health

Health is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Generally, the context in which an individual lives is of great importance on health status and quality of life. It is increasingly recognized that health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyle choices of the individual and society. According to the World Health Organization, the main determinants of health include the social and economic environment, the physical environment, and the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors. In fact, an increasing number of studies and reports from different organizations and contexts examine the linkages between health and different factors, including lifestyles, environments, health care organization, and health policy.

Focusing more on lifestyle issues and their relationships with functional health, data from different studies suggested that people can improve their health via:

  • exercise,
  • enough sleep,
  • maintaining a healthy body weight,
  • limiting alcohol use,
  • and avoiding smoking.

In addition to that, the ability to adapt and to self manage have been suggested as core components of human health.

Personal health also depends partially on the social structure of a person’s life. The maintenance of strong social relationships, volunteering, and other social activities have been linked to positive mental health and even increased longevity. In contrast, prolonged psychological stress may negatively impact health, and has been cited as a factor in cognitive impairment with aging, depressive illness, and expression of disease.

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