It’s always the right time to think about your health. But as the weather gets warmer, it seems easier to make simple, effective changes to support your wellness goals. The longer days make it easier to get in those steps—and taking just a couple of other small steps can help you move farther toward a healthier, happier life.

Evaluate your plate

Analyze the food you choose. Women are more likely to suffer from health conditions related to nutrition, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Make sure nutritious foods are on the menu instead of simply avoiding unhealthy choices. Calcium-rich foods contribute to bone health, important because women have a lower bone density that also decreases with age. Women are at higher risk of anemia and need foods with adequate iron. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood pressure, contribute to heart health and help alleviate rheumatoid arthritis—a disease women are two to three times more likely to suffer from than men.

Make sleep a priority

Sleep is the easiest and best thing you can do for self-care. The average adult woman should get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly, but more than 60% of women regularly fall short of that goal. Put down that phone. Turn off the screens. Create—and stick to—a regular bedtime routine. Inadequate sleep can lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. Sleep boosts your immune system, plays a vital role in regulating your metabolism and appetite, helps with brain function, increases fertility, promotes healing, and simply puts you in a better, more productive place each day.

In addition to steps you can take on your own, a critical part of women’s health is maintaining a good relationship with a primary care provider, who helps with health goals, monitors your health and provides guidance for important preventative screenings. Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at Avera Medical Group Sibley by calling (712) 754-3658.