How can women improve their chances of living a long and healthy life, preserve their quality of life and prevent chronic illnesses and ailments that pose a threat to them, like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc.?
Women live longer than men!
This is true all around the world! Women live longer than men. For example, life expectancy at birth in Quebec in 2016 was 84.4 years for women and 80.5 years for men. And in Canada, 84 years for women and 79.9 years for men.
Among other things, for biological reasons. According to scientific research, women benefit from their chromosomes and hormones. For example: In women, body fat accumulates under the skin rather than around organs in the abdomen, such as is the case for men. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease for women, at least before menopause.
But also because of their behaviour. Generally speaking, women have less risky behaviour than men and commit suicide less.
And because they are more concerned with their health than men are. Several studies have shown that women are especially on the lookout for information about health.
What about life expectancy when healthy?
However, the World Health Organization shows that healthy life expectancy is, on average, about 10 years less than the overall life expectancy. This perspective seems much less encouraging than the first one.
Therefore, even though women live longer than men, they suffer from chronic diseases more often than men do.
Hence the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle that can help reduce your risk of having these diseases and allow you to live a longer full and active life.
Thus, here are 5 great ways
to live a long and healthy life
Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish, meat, dairy products and good fats will help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight. Avoid processed and ultra-processed foods that are often the cause of excess weight, putting you at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. If you worry about your diet not providing you with all the needed nutrients, consider taking multivitamins and calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis.
We recommend 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Choose various activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing or any other activity you enjoy in order to strengthen your heart — and prevent heart disease —, tone your muscles, improve your flexibility and balance.
- Moderate your drinking. We recommend: no more than 1 to 2 glasses a day. Risk of breast and liver cancers.
- Don’t smoke or expose yourself to second-hand smoke. Risk of lung cancer.
- Don’t use drugs.
- Don’t have unprotected sex.
- Don’t overexpose yourself to the sun. Protect yourself against UV rays to prevent wrinkles, aging and skin cancer.
Take time for yourself every day to relax in the way best suits you: breathing, meditation, yoga, sports, exercise, etc. And get enough restorative sleep. Stress can really have unfortunate health consequences: from infertility to depression and anxiety, and even heart disease.
- Pap test for cervical cancer screening (from 21 to 69 years old, every 2-3 years);
- Mammography for breast cancer screening (from 50 to 69 years old, every other year or every year and younger if you have a family history of breast cancer);
- Bone mineral density testing by osteodensitometry for osteoporosis (65 years and over, once);
- Fecal immunochemical or fecal occult blood test for colorectal cancer (from 50 to 74 years old, every other year).
Discover the joys of a healthy lifestyle
You might be thinking that’s quite a task! Do it at your own pace. Gradually integrate these basic principles into your daily life. Keep learning about health and have fun doing so. And having fun is like laughing, it’s healthy. You will be happy and will spread joy around you.
Women’s health is an endless topic. We will soon have the opportunity to explore other health issues that affect women more specifically such as menopause, or that affect them in very different ways than they do men, including migraine and urinary tract infections.