Happy or sad

Glamour (South Africa) - - Health Update - = You’re well rested = You’re ex­hausted

Con­sider this ques­tion: were you in a pos­i­tive mood or a neg­a­tive mood yes­ter­day at 9am, 1pm, 6pm and 9pm? Now cal­cu­late the ra­tio of pos­i­tive emo­tions to the ra­tio of neg­a­tive emo­tions you ex­pe­ri­enced.

3:1 You’re happy

Why look at how your mood changed over an av­er­age day? It’s a great way to qual­ify some­thing as amor­phous as your emo­tions. “Of­ten this test shocks the heck out of women I see,” says Dr Pamela Peeke, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of medicine and the author of Body For Life For Women (Ro­dale Books, R372).

“They had no idea that they were so stressed, be­cause all of that anx­i­ety had be­come so nor­mal to them, like back­ground noise. But re­search shows that the hap­pier you are, the stronger your im­mune sys­tem is. You’re likely to have less in­flam­ma­tion, which is the foun­da­tion for many ma­jor dis­eases in your body,” Dr Peeke re­veals.

1:1 You could use a boost

“Try adding more ex­pe­ri­ences into your day that bring you joy, like play­ing with your dog, grab­bing lunch with a friend or co-worker, or tak­ing part in a dance class,” ad­vises Dr Peeke.

1:3 You’re strug­gling

When your hap­pi­ness ra­tio skews to­wards the neg­a­tive, you are more at risk for ill­ness – both ev­ery­day and chronic, says Dr Peeke. “If your mood is so low that it’s in­ter­fer­ing with your work, sleep or re­la­tion­ships, then you must seek im­me­di­ate help from a psychiatrist or li­cenced so­cial worker – who are of­ten cheaper – to fig­ure out what’s go­ing on,” she says.

Sex­ual plea­sure Be hon­est: is sex ever painful? No then carry on!

Oc­ca­sional dis­com­fort is nor­mal: “As long as it isn’t the kind of pain that makes you wince, you’re OK,” says ob-gyn Dr Katharine O’con­nell White. Reg­u­lar sex has a whole host of health ben­e­fits, such as boost­ing the im­mune sys­tem, eas­ing body pain and en­cour­ag­ing sounder sleep – not to men­tion that youth­ful glow!

YES this is not ok

It’s time to pin­point the ex­act prob­lem. “Of­ten it’s as sim­ple as not enough fore­play,” ex­plains Dr White. “But it may also sig­nal some­thing se­ri­ous, like en­dometrio­sis, pelvic in­flam­ma­tory dis­ease [PID], an ovar­ian cyst or an in­fec­tion like a UTI. Tell your doc­tor so she can help you fig­ure out what’s go­ing on. You de­serve great sex!

Hello belly Stand straight and look down. Can you see your toes with­out lean­ing for­ward? YES Good news for your heart

“Fat deep in­side your belly raises your risk for heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and can­cer,” ex­plains Dr Peeke.

NO Bad news for your heart

Women whose bel­lies mea­sure 89cm or more have nearly dou­ble the risk of dy­ing from heart dis­ease or can­cer com­pared with leaner women. This kind of fat does re­spond well to diet and ex­er­cise, so im­prove your diet by avoid­ing added fruc­tose and trans fats, which may specif­i­cally boost belly fat.

Healthy teeth Do your gums bleed when you floss your teeth? NO Oral health A+

“If your gums are pink and don’t bleed, then they’re prob­a­bly healthy,” ex­plains den­tist Dr Jan­ice Pliszczak.

YES Uh-oh: warn­ing sign

“You could have gin­givi­tis (in­flam­ma­tion of the gums) or ir­re­versible gum dis­ease,” says Dr Pliszczak. “Start floss­ing once a day. It’s equally im­por­tant as brushing.”

Deep sleep When it comes to sleep, do you typ­i­cally:

Fall asleep within five min­utes of ly­ing down? (1 point) (0 points)

Yes No

Hit the snooze but­ton two or more times? (1 point) (0 points)

Yes No

Go to bed and wake up at dif­fer­ent times each day? Yes (1 point) No (0 points)

0 points

And prob­a­bly fit: young women who get be­tween 6.5 and 8.5 hours of con­sis­tent, qual­ity sleep per night have lower body fat than those who don’t.

1 or 2 points = You’re too tired

“Sleep de­pri­va­tion can cause de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety or ‘brain fog’,” re­veals sleep spe­cial­ist Dr Michael Breus, co-author of The Sleep Doc­tor’s Diet Plan (Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton, R314). “Get­ting just 30 ex­tra min­utes ev­ery night should help you.”

3 points

“If you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pil­low, you’re not get­ting enough sleep,” says Dr Breus. Go to sleep ear­lier, and set your alarm for the last pos­si­ble mo­ment so you bank more high-qual­ity sleep. Then stick to that con­sis­tent sleep­wake sched­ule as much as pos­si­ble.

Hy­dra­tion Pinch the skin be­tween your thumb and your fore­fin­ger, then let go. Does it snap right back? YES You’re prop­erly hy­drated

When your body has enough flu­ids, cells are plump, mak­ing skin elas­tic.

No You may be de­hy­drated

Stud­ies show that de­hy­dra­tion can make you grouchy, slug­gish and less fo­cused. Dermo Dr Francesca Fusco sug­gests keep­ing a 1ℓ wa­ter bot­tle on your desk as a re­minder to sip through­out the day.

Get mov­ing Do you sit for more than five hours each day? NO ex­cel­lent!

“The av­er­age woman sits 50-70% of her day,” re­veals Dr James Levine, author of Get Up! (Pal­grave Macmil­lan, R346). “The more you move, the bet­ter.”

YES You’re at risk

Peo­ple who sit for at least five cu­mu­la­tive hours a day are more likely to de­velop can­cer, heart dis­ease or type 2 di­a­betes. Start in­cor­po­rat­ing just five min­utes of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity into ev­ery hour.

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