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Healthy Habits – the pathway to the “Fountain of Youth” – Ogden Clinic provided source, BrandView 10/15/2014

(KSL BrandView) OGDEN – By Dr. Bryan Palmer, OB/GYN.

Women spend a lot of time hunting for the elusive "Fountain of Youth." From pills and potions, to fad diets and surgery, most find that there is no quick fix that will keep you youthful and healthy. However, healthy habits can certainly help women of all ages maintain their vitality through the years. Here is what you need to know to look and feel your best at any age:

Nutrition

In today's busy world we tend to look for quick and easy options when it comes to our diet. Unfortunately, that can spell disaster for a woman's overall health. We've all heard how important it is to eat your fruits, veggies and whole grains — but one thing we don't often hear about is the importance of developing healthy habits at a young age.

Women in their early 20s are becoming independent and moving away from home. While an exciting time, these changes can take a toll on eating habits. From a change in income levels — whether it is having more money to eat out or less money so you eat poorly — as women become independent their diets are often derailed. Your 20s are the perfect opportunity to establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

In your 30s and 40s your metabolism slows down and the diet you used to get away with can backfire. If you continue eating like you did when you were a kid, you start gaining weight and can become overwhelmingly tired. Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you feel great at every stage of life.

Exercise

One of the main excuses I hear from patients is that they are too busy chasing their children, so they don't need to exercise. I hate to burst that bubble, but exercise is important at any age — and vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

While exercise is important at every age, the type of exercise should change as you age to ensure a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association's guideline is 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. Remember that you don't need to be training for a marathon or have a personal trainer to stay fit.

Despite being busy, dedicate time every day to exercise. It is good for your body and your mind. Don't let your busy schedule be an excuse.

It is also important to remember the type of exercise when you are younger is different than when you are older. Weight bearing exercise while you are young can help maintain bone density later in life and lower your risk of osteoporosis.

As you get into your 50s, 60s and beyond you need to focus on avoiding injuries. Stay active and maintain a healthy body weight at every stage of life.

Sleep

For most women, seven is their lucky number when it comes to sleep. As researchers find out more about how sleep impacts your health, the time can vary. Studies show that an average of seven hours of sleep per night helps decrease mortality. People with sleep deprivation have an increased risk for hypertension, diabetes, and substance abuse. Sleep is critical to your health, and no matter how busy you are it should not be put on the back burner.

Stress

Stress is a very real part of life, and reducing your stress level is the cornerstone of good health. I like to work with my patients and help them manage their stress levels to improve their overall health.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a busy businesswoman, stress impacts everyone. The key is learning how to deal with the stressors in your life. Exercise, take time for yourself and find a hobby that you love.

Everyone's outlet is different, but by reducing stress you may also reduce your risk of heart disease , and will feel better overall. If you are experiencing chronic stress, talk with your doctor. He or she will be able to help guide you to a healthier lifestyle.

Vitamins

Vitamins are very important during a woman's childbearing years. I recommend that all women in their 20s and 30s take a pre-natal vitamin, whether or not they are actively trying for a family.

Pre-natal vitamins are simple, inexpensive and have all of the vital nutrients that a woman needs to maintain a healthy life. Keep in mind that as you age you should also tailor your vitamins to your specific health needs.

Women at every age, but especially those women in their 40s and 50s should take Vitamin D and Calcium for bone health, in addition to a multivitamin. Whether it's in pill form, gummies or chocolate chews — the only way vitamins work is if you take them consistently. So find the vitamin that works best for you and take it every single day.

Screenings By Age

We all hear the commercials about how important it is to go in for your yearly screenings. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but preventative screenings are a benchmark for maintaining good health throughout your life.

Typical screenings you will get in your 20s and 30s include pap smears, cholesterol, diabetes and thyroid. Other screenings, such as hepatitis or HIV will be conducted based on your lifestyle.

Once you reach 40, you will begin getting mammograms (sometimes this is recommended earlier based on family history). When you reach 50 you'll add a colonoscopy to your screening routine, and once you hit 65 you will be screened for osteoporosis.

Getting your health screenings does take time, and busy women often find it hard to put themselves first. However, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take the time to focus on your health and get your yearly exams.

Your OBGYN is a great resource and can guide you through all of the stages of your life. Whether you are getting ready to start a family, or are ready to retire, we enjoy helping women keep their health and vitality though every stage of life.

Visit the Ogden Clinic website or call 801-475-3240 for more information about obstetrics, gynecology or to schedule a consultation. We are happy to talk with you and answer any additional questions you may have.

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