Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) is being celebrated May 10-16. This campaign begins on Mother’s Day each year and serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority. There are several steps you can take today to improve your health tomorrow.
Stay up to date with well-woman visits and preventative screenings
Keep an eye on your health by visiting with your doctor for regular checkups and preventative care screenings. Early detection of problems improves outcomes and makes treatment less invasive and more effective. Download and print this Screening Recommendation Guide from Be Well Solutions to see what screenings are recommended for your age and gender. Then, check with your insurance provider about which services are covered.
Celebrate your body with movement
Some view exercise as a chore, or simply as a means to lose weight. It’s difficult to stay motivated and enjoy physical activity when we don’t enjoy it. Please remember that regular exercise results in health benefits that accrue as you age. Routine exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. From reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke to improving bone health, mood, energy and sleep, the benefits of routine exercise truly last a lifetime. In older adults regular exercise is associated with better learning, memory and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends most adults strive for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
Choose foods that nourish your body
Calories are not the end-all be-all when it comes to proper nutrition. While it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes, diet quality plays a major role in the body’s ability to resist illness and maintain optimal health. Women, especially those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have unique nutritional needs that should be maintained including calcium, iron and folic acid. Eating a nutrient-dense diet rich in vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fatty fish can help meet those requirements. If you are not certain which foods can provide the best benefit, talking to a Registered Dietitian can yield significant results.
Prioritize mental health and emotional wellbeing
Keep your mind and body healthy by taking time to address your emotional health. Research suggests improvements in mental health often correspond to improvements in overall physical health. Meditation, deep breathing, exercise, and healthy sleep quality and quantity are just a few of the steps you can take at home to manage stress. Women have a higher risk of clinical depression and anxiety – these conditions require counseling and professional guidance. To understand more about emotional health issues in women, visit the National Institute of Mental Health. The American Psychological Association website can help you locate a psychologist that’s right for you.
Eliminate preventable risk factors
Reduce your risk of disease and early death by embracing a health-promoting lifestyle. Avoid smoking, excess alcohol intake, illicit drug use, texting and driving, and other risky behaviors. Be sure to wear sunscreen when outdoors, use helmets when necessary and always buckle-up behind the wheel. These tips may seem like common sense, but small actions can yield big consequences.
For more information on National Women’s Health Week visit the Health and Human Services website.