As mothers it is important for us to stay happy and healthy cos we must be there for our family as long as possible, we have even more reason to strive for long, active lives. But we’re so busy taking care of family that our own health often takes a backseat.
Here’s where the good news comes in: Small, simple behavior changes can pay major health dividends.
“Reward yourself with plenty of encouragement for each step you take,” says wellness expert. “As these changes start to take effect, you’ll notice that you feel healthier and more energetic. Then it becomes easier and easier to continue.”
This is simple but achievable ways to be healthy and happy.
1. Protect your posture
Whether that first twinge was triggered by pregnancy, holding your nursing baby, running a business or an employee, or ferrying a heavy toddler, the advent of parenthood is when many women suddenly start saying “ouch.”
You may have back, neck, and shoulder pain, or even carpal tunnel syndrome evidenced by tingling, numbness, and pain in the arms, wrists, or hands.
Take sitting, for example. It’s not just that we sit too much, it’s how we sit that’s causing problems, Sitting with our shoulders rounded forward – as nursing moms as office person are wont to do – compress the nerves and disks in the spine and restricts blood flow to the supporting muscles.
learn how to sit properly, with your shoulders rolled back and the chest open, will not only prevents back pain but can help nursing moms with the letdown reflex and prevent mastitis
As a nursing mom, use a pillow to support your baby during feedings so you can sit up straight rather than hunching over.
Also When standing, pull yourself as tall as possible with your core abdominal muscles. Roll your shoulders back and down, and “tuck your ribs, not your pelvis, this means pulling your rib cage back toward your spine.
2. Lose some of the baby weight
You were eating for two at pregnancy, and now you’re not, and those pounds gained during pregnancy may have taken up permanent residence.
At the same time, you know remaining overweight isn’t good for your health or your longevity.
Luckily, the benefits begin with even a small amount of weight loss. Studies show that losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight (7 1/2 to 15 pounds for someone who weighs 150 pounds) lowers blood pressure, reduces bad cholesterol, lowers the risk of diabetes, and cuts your risk of cardiovascular disease.
So start small and don’t beat yourself up when you cave in to the leftover chocolate. Cutting just 100 calories a day can lead to a 9- to 10-pound weight loss over the course of a year. How much is 100 calories? Not a lot: A 12-ounce can of cocacola contains 140 calories, a chocolate bar more than 200.
3. Take care of your teeth and gums
It’s all too easy to postpone dental cleanings and checkups when you’re juggling the myriad responsibilities of parenthood; after all, you’ve got more important things to worry about, right?
Not really. Not only is gum disease a leading contributor to tooth loss, but it puts your heart at risk, too. Studies show that oral bacteria from gum disease may raise the risk of heart disease and stroke by contributing to inflammation in your cardiovascular system, says the American Academy of Periodontology. In fact, people who have gum disease are almost twice as likely to also suffer from coronary artery disease, though it hasn’t been proven that the gum disease is the cause.
And this condition is much more common in women than most people realize, thanks in part to the hormonal changes of pregnancy, nursing, and perimenopause. One study in the Journal of Periodontology found that 23 percent of women between the ages of 30 to 54 had advanced gum disease.
Of course, there are other reasons to take care of your teeth as well: You want to kiss your kids with minty-fresh breath and smile at them with pearly whites. So follow the rules you set for your kids and brush twice a day and floss at least once. And get to the dentist twice a year for a cleaning – more often if you suffer from gum disease. You’ll save on (bigger) dental bills and be more kissable, and your heart might hold out longer, too.
4. Guard against depression
As many as one in five new mothers suffers from postpartum depression, often triggered by the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy and nursing and the stress of new responsibilities and life changes. There is no solution in sorrow, stay healthy and be happy.
Here’s the thing: Depression can sneak up on you when you’re least likely to notice, mimicking the symptoms of other conditions. For example, if you’re so sleep-deprived you can’t see straight, you may attribute lethargy, fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed to exhaustion rather than recognizing them for what they are, signs that you’re suffering from a major illness.
Also, stress is a trigger of depression, so if you’re under a lot of pressure from going back to work or juggling too many responsibilities, you can be at risk. Make sure you’re getting plenty of support from family and friends, since social isolation can contribute to depression. And if you suspect you’re feeling lower than you should, talk to your doctor.
5. Get more sleep
Being a parent and being sleep-deprived – the two feel inextricably linked. But what if you knew that getting too few sleep leads to a host of health problems, including weight gain and memory loss? Knowing this, would you be more likely to forget the laundry and go to sleep when your child does?
Here are a few simple tips to get more sleep, and sleep better during the hours available. am sure it will help you to stay healthy and happy:
o Stick to a sleep schedule: Go to bed and get up as close to the same times as possible each day.
o Keep your room dark and don’t bring electronic gadgets to bed or keep a TV in the bedroom. The light from screens has been associated with insomnia and poor sleep.
o Take turns getting up with babies and small children –
o Prioritize sleep: If you have to leave dirty dishes till the morning, do so. You might even get them done faster after a night’s rest anyway.
o Nap if possible. Not everyone’s a napper, but if you can nap, go for it. Post-lunch siestas are particularly effective – take 20 minutes to refresh and everyone will benefit from your renewed energy.
Get moving and you not only burn calories, you protect your heart and lungs and strengthen your muscles, too. Dancing is a particularly mom-friendly activity because you can do it anytime, anywhere – and you can do it with your kids, too. Put on some music, kick up your heels, and you’ll reap benefits and have fun at the same time. it is simple but will help to stay healthy and happy
“Dancing is the perfect form of exercise. It elevates your mood, works all your muscle groups, improves cardio health, and increases brain plasticity,” says wellness expert “And you’re sharing a joyous activity with your child.” (Brain plasticity is the ability of your brain to change as you learn new things; it’s important for memory retention.)
If that’s not enough to motivate you, consider research that shows that people who exercise regularly (and this can be just brisk walking) could add more than a year to their lives, and those who exercised more intensely could add nearly four more years. So where is your favorites musician CDs?
7. Watch out for “white” foods
Happily, we’ve moved beyond demonizing all carbohydrates, which means you can relax and enjoy that whole wheat toast in peace. But you can still do your body a favor by cutting back on “white” foods, meaning those that contain refined sugar or white flour. Why? Because refined sugar can be a major contributor to inflammation in the body, which is the biological process that releases damaging free radicals and amps up aging.
Eating too much sugar takes a toll on your heart and other organs. For women, the AHA recommends restricting sugar intake to 100 calories, or six teaspoons per day of added sugars. (This doesn’t include the sugar found naturally in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or milk.)
The kicker? You also need to cut back on so-called “simple” carbohydrates, as in baked goods made from white flour, because they quickly turn into sugars once in your digestive system.
Instead, reach out for items made from whole grains such as whole wheat, bran, and oats. They cook quickly and can help regulate your blood sugar for hours after eating.
8. Take stretch breaks
There’s a reason yoga is often recommended by doctors and other medical professionals. It increases flexibility, which is one of the best ways to feel and look ten years younger. But you don’t have to achieve a perfect Downward Dog to reap the benefits of stretching. Taking simple five-minute stretch breaks throughout the day can prevent back, neck and shoulder pain and stave off joint problems, experts says.
Every few hours, stand up and reach as high as you can, leaning forward as if you’re trying to put something onto an imaginary high shelf, This lengthens and straightens the spine and puts your body into healthy alignment.
Other good stretches include touching your toes and doing simple twists from side to side, as if turning to look behind you with your feet planted in place. Even at work do not sit for a long time without stretching; you can adopt the habit of stand to pick up your every phone call as the simple way of exercising.
9. Have a regular medical check up
You wouldn’t think of skipping your baby’s 1-year checkup – but when was the last time you had one yourself? Of course it’s a lot more exciting to plot your little one’s curve on the growth chart than it is to go to the doctor yourself, but your health deserves the same vigilance. Think of it as routine maintenance on a car, one you hope will carry you 200,000 miles.
Be sure to get an annual physical so you don’t miss important tests to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other health concerns, and so you stay up-to-date on your shots. Some, like the Tdap, could help save your baby’s life.
Screening guidelines vary by age and also by doctor, but below are a few tests you can expect to take. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what tests might be right for you.
• A blood panel to check cholesterol and lipids
• Blood pressure • Blood glucose screening to check for diabetes
• A mammogram to monitor for breast cancer. (Despite controversial new guidelines, most primary care physicians still recommend annual mammograms for women over 40.)
• Pelvic exam and Pap smear. New guidelines recommend a Pap smear every two to three years depending on your health history.
• Blood test for levels of vitamin D
• Thyroid screening for an underactive or overactive thyroid gland, which can slow or speed up metabolism
• Skin cancer screening
• Vision and hearing tests
10. Eat from the garden
If you’re an apple-a-day girl, you’re on the right track. However, the more fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans you can incorporate into your diet now that you’re a mom, the better.
The reason? Natural substances called antioxidants found in these foods function as nature’s vaccination system for your body. They help neutralize free radicals, the cell-damaging chemicals our bodies produce when they break down our food as well as in response to stress and our environment. Research shows that antioxidants may help protect against heart disease, cancer, memory loss, and pretty much every other less-than-desirable effect of aging.
Stay healthy and happy
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