As we move into midlife, women must begin to pay closer attention to what their bodies are telling them in order to continue to be healthy and live a long life.
For many of us midlife women, better health does not come naturally. I know it certainly doesn’t for me. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say I wake up with some new ache, pain, or condition fairly regularly. It doesn’t matter if we were always healthy when we were younger, we now must work hard in order to lead healthy lives and have overall excellent health. This means listening to our bodies and understanding what they are telling us.
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Here are some ways you can listen to your body so you can have a life that is sustained by good health.
Listen to Your Cardiovascular System
This means following your blood pressure and pulse very carefully. Women especially should pay attention to their midlife heart health. If you are inactive or have a family history of high blood pressure, you may be suffering from high blood pressure and not even know it. You must check your blood pressure often. If it is consistently elevated, you may need to be on medication or modify your diet and exercise program so you can avoid some of the many complications of high blood pressure, such as:
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease
You should also check your pulse on a regular basis. A high pulse can mean that you are too inactive or are under a great deal of stress. Exercise can cause your heart to function better and will slow your pulse to normal levels.
Your blood pressure and heart rate can be easily watched at home with the use of an inexpensive wrist monitor like the one that I use.
Watch the Scale
You can listen to your body every time you put on your clothes or each time you step on the scale. Do your clothes fit right? Are they becoming too loose on you or are they too snug? Is the scale tipping one way or another in the wrong direction? If you find that you are losing too much weight or packing on the pounds, it may be that you are being affected by stress and are not eating in ways that promote good health. Good health comes from eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. It can be a hard habit to break when it comes to eating processed foods like cookies, cakes, and processed meals. They all have excess calories and preservatives that are generally unhealthy for you. We notice that eating these things affects us much more in midlife than it may have in years past.
Many midlife women experience unwanted weight gain when they are transitioning into menopause. To learn more about how your diet can affect you during menopause, download my free guide What You Should Know About Diet and Menopause.
Eating too little can also affect your health. When you eat less than the amount of food you are supposed to eat, you can suffer from a lack of proper nutrients. Lacking proper nutrients, your body does not function properly and may cause you to be sick from a lack of the nutrients to support immune health.
Listen to Your Digestive System
Your digestive system is the way you get proper nutrients, but it is also a big way your body defends itself from pathogens. The digestive system is part of the immune system, so you need to treat it with the care it deserves. This requires paying attention to episodes of diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion from being under excess stress or eating the wrong foods.
You can care for your digestive system by eating healthy foods and by taking probiotics, which can replenish the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics can be taken in by eating plain yogurt with live cultures or by eating fermented foods such as kefir.
If you can’t get it in the foods you eat, you can purchase many probiotic supplements online. Some of the best probiotics are those that come in spore form. The spores can survive the acidic environment of your stomach and then release the live bacteria in the intestines, where they take root and drive out the bad bacteria and fungi.
Listen for Signs of Stress and Fatigue
Are you feeling tired, yet keep pushing yourself past your limits? Are you fighting fatigue on a regular basis, instead of taking the time to rest and rejuvenate? Fatigue and low energy are both your body talking to you and letting you know that you need to slow down and relax. If you refuse to listen, you will crash and burn.
Are you ignoring anxiety, instead of looking to erase its sources and lower stress levels? Stress can be very dangerous, and you are the only one that can take care to reduce its load on your body, mind, and spirit.
Here are some wonderful ways to fight stress with a little self-care:
- Get a massage
- Visit with friends
- Try yoga
For more ideas, read my blog post, 8 Small Acts of Self-Care for Midlife Women.
Listen to Your Aches and Pains
Your everyday aches and pains may be telling you something. If they begin to evolve into something more, aches and pains should not be ignored. Seek out medical attention if they your aches and pains are associated with:
- Fevers and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Massive swelling
- Pressure and bruising
- An area of previous injury or surgery