The women’s health guide: five simple steps for a healthier, happier you
For Women’s Health Week, we’ve partnered up with the award-winning bladder supplement brand, Jude, to get your health back on track. From prioritising sleep and getting your five-a-day, to de-stressing with a massage and looking after your bladder, these five simple steps will help you feel better in no time.
When life gets a bit much it’s normal for your health to take a knock. You’re less likely to be eating nourishing meals, exercising or taking time out. Add to that the hormonal rollercoaster of periods, contraceptive pills, pregnancy and the menopause, and suddenly health needs changing all over again.
Not sure where to start?
These five simple steps will help shift your focus back to what's important – being the healthier and happier version of yourself, all with balance in mind.
When it comes to looking after your health, your diet is a great place to start. Eating the right foods can prevent illnesses like heart disease and cancer while boosting your energy levels and improving mental health.
There’s a reason why you feel sluggish after eating greasy foods but energised after having a meal made from scratch. And that’s because natural foods give you essential nutrients.
The food types that matter
Eating a variety of foods will give your body the right amount of nutrients to keep you healthy.
Fruit and vegetables have essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to fight infections, and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are high in fibre to regulate blood sugar levels.
Eating lean protein like fish, poultry and lentils is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body, whereas healthy fats such as avocado and nuts can help reduce inflammation in the body and support brain health.
Eating a variety of these foods will give you more energy, fight infections and help you feel better overall.
But remember, everyone’s different
All bodies are different and what works for your friend might not work for you. We have different intolerances and there are a lot of factors that will impact your diet, such as your age, height and how much exercise you’re doing.
To make sure you’re eating what’s right for you, try the following:
Get a food intolerance test to find out what foods your body doesn’t like and cut these out from your diet
Speak to a doctor to get professional insight into how much you should be eating and exercising for your height, age, weight and goals
Don’t restrict yourself and be realistic. If you fancy a piece of chocolate, don’t stop yourself! As long as you make positive diet improvements where possible, your health will thank you for it.
For more detailed information about how to have a healthy and balanced diet, take a look at the NHS’s guide to healthy eating.
Getting massages regularly has plenty of benefits. Not only can you enjoy incredibly relaxing and indulgent me-time, they’re proven to reduce stress which is super beneficial for your health. A win-win!
When you’re stressed you may start to feel anxious and depressed or develop physical symptoms like headaches, sleep problems and more. Massage therapy helps to combat these issues and reduce stress levels by easing muscle tension which lowers blood pressure and the heart rate.
Boost happy hormones
Massage has also been shown to boost the happy hormones, endorphins and serotonin, helping you feel brighter and less anxious or low.
So if stress is a big pain point in your life, getting a regular massage can help calm you down and improve your overall health. You can even book an at-home de-stress massage without having to leave the house – a no-brainer.
We know the child in you wants to stay up late, but it might be affecting your health more than you think.
When we sleep, our bodies and brains have a chance to rest and restore for the next day. This study even suggests that getting a deep sleep essentially ‘washes’ the brain, helping memories last and even prevents things like dementia.
Get 7-9 hours a night
Without getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, you’ll not only struggle to focus and be productive the next day, but you could be doing long term damage.
A good sleeping pattern doesn’t just help us function, it also boosts the immune system to fight off infections and viruses, reduces stress and regulates hormones.
Basically, getting a good amount of sleep every night is a must if you want to look after your health.
If you struggle with falling asleep, try the following:
Get yourself into a sleep routine by going to bed at the same time every night
Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine before bed
Try to not use screens like your phone or TV an hour before bed
Try meditation or breathing techniques if you’re struggling to fall asleep
Have a sleep massage
Bladder weakness and leaks can impact around one in three women. It’s still a bit of a taboo, but the more we talk about it the less isolated women feel and the easier it is to find support.
If you’re wanting to look after your bladder, the first step is seeing your GP to check for any underlying health issues.
Bladder care and your cycle
A small study found that women experienced less bladder control just before and during their period. However, further studies haven’t been able to prove that women’s cycles impact bladder control. So if you’re experiencing a lack of bladder control, or urinary incontinence, speak with your GP and follow our tips above.
Introduce pelvic floor exercises into your routine
Sit comfortably and squeeze your pelvic muscles – the ones that you would use to stop yourself from peeing
Do this 10-15 times, without holding your breath
Once you get used to it, try holding these muscles for longer and add in extra squeezes
The last thing you can do is check out Jude. This is a community-centric healthcare brand that offers supplements made from pumpkin seed extract and soy germ extract, proven in clinical trials to reduce bladder leaks by 79%.
Jude also has ‘Leak Proof Pants’ which are soft, durable and can hold up to eight teaspoons of wee. They’re perfect if you want to go for a run or you simply want to feel protected all day long when you’re out and about.
For more information on how you can navigate bladder weakness, head to Jude.
We couldn’t talk about looking after your health without mentioning exercise. But that doesn’t mean you need to get yourself a gym membership or disguise your tears as sweat on a long run.
It’s actually completely possible to find an exercise that works for you and that you enjoy doing (we’re serious!).
Whether that’s going on a walk during your lunch break or starting your day off with some yoga, all movement is beneficial to your health. It may take some trial-and-error before you find the one for you, but once you do it’ll be worth it. And you’ll feel all the better for it.
How often should I exercise?
Again, this will be different for everyone. If you’re just looking to maintain your fitness, exercising 2-3 times a week is fine. However, if you’re wanting to boost your fitness levels or increase stamina, you should aim to exercise 4-5 times a week with more intense workouts.
Simply set out your goals before starting to decide what’s best for you or speak to a fitness professional for their suggestions.
Look after your health at different life stages