by Victoria A. Vetere
Most women play nurturing roles in their families and work lives, but they often neglect tending to their own basic needs. Let’s examine four key foundational health factors that are essential in contributing to women’s well-being.
Foundational Health Factor #1 – Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation states that women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling and staying asleep, and tend to experience more daytime sleepiness. Women have sleep challenges related to the changing levels of hormones brought on by menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.
Sleep is the first foundational health factor, and must be taken very seriously by women of all ages. Factors which improve sleep include regular exercise, establishing routine sleep/wake times, and limiting intake of caffeine & alcohol.
Foundational Health Factor #2 – Food
Women are far more likely than men to suffer from an eating disorder. And according to a 2010 NHANES study, an estimated 64% of women are either overweight or obese.
Food is the second foundational health factor with special challenges for women. Developing a healthy relationship with food is critical to establishing women’s overall health.
Foundational Health Factor #3 – Exercise
The third foundational health factor is movement. A NHLBI study showed only 29% of adult women exercise regularly.
The National Institutes of Health recommends adults engage in at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day to maintain proper levels of fitness.
Foundational Health Factor #4 – Relationships
Having close relationships with female friends is the fourth key health factor for women. Having female friends reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and boosts immunity. Women’s need to bond is hardwired into our brains. A UCLA study found that when women are under stress their brains release the hormone oxytocin, which encourages them to bond and experience a response called “tend and befriend.”
A Harvard Health Study found that not having close friends or confidants was as detrimental to women’s health as smoking or obesity. Social isolation may be one of the biggest risk factors for mortality, according to researchers from Brigham Young University.
Victoria A. Vetere, PhD, HC is an Enlightened Life Coach and the Director of Lotus Health & Longevity. Follow her on Facebook at “Enlightened Life Lovers”, stream her radio show “Chai Chat” at blogtalkradio.com/chaichat, or visit her website at EnlightenedLifeCoaching.com.