Celebrating Women’s Health Week
It's perfectly natural that we think of women first when it comes to health issues. After all, two-thirds of the caregivers in the U.S. are women.
And the timing for this is perfect. Yesterday was the first day of National Women’s Health Week. The official designation lasts through Saturday, May 14.
This year the theme for National Women’s Health Week is “Achieving Healthier Futures Together.” The goal of this week is to encourage women and girls to make their health a priority.
The week falls under the umbrella of the Office on Women's Health. Which is part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Identify Needed Care
Women caregivers daily or regularly support children, adults, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
As a result of their caregiver activities, women have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health.
Preventive care can keep disease away or detect problems early so that treatment is more effective. Women need to protect their health by identifying the care they may require.
5 Steps to a Healthier You
So, what kind of steps can women take to keep themselves in the best possible health? Both for themselves and the people for whom some of them provide care?
Below are five suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:
- Get active with plenty of exercise.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Prioritize your mental health. Research shows that positive
mental health is associated with improved overall health and wellbeing.
- Practice healthy behavior. Daily decisions influence your overall health.
Let's take a closer look at each of the five bullet points listed above.
Can We Talk?
In the course of speaking with healthcare providers, women should learn which screenings and exams they need and when.
As well as discovering which procedures are covered by their insurance plans and to what extent. Telemedicine can often cut down on costs.
Even if something seems trivial, women should discuss it with medical personnel. Especially if something doesn't seem quite right.
Women who are pregnant or who have given birth within the past year should make sure they communicate to a doctor what's going on with their bodies.
Stay Active With Exercise
Getting and staying active is another important component of women's health. It lowers the risk of a variety of physical maladies.
Getting outside for a brisk walk is a great way to stay fit. And it's especially enjoyable if you have a walking partner.
But even when you're indoors you can stay active. If you watch a couple of hours of TV each day, spend 30 of those minutes doing a variety of exercises. Including jumping jacks, running in place, stretches, etc.
And don't forget that some housework and yard work also count toward your exercise time. Gardening is a good way to keep your muscles moving while doing something that will benefit your health.
Nutritious Diet Is Crucial
Everyone knows that nutrition is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. If you consistently eat right, you will feel better.
Among the foods you should consume every day are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk, other dairy products, and lean meats. Avoid foods that have too much salt and sugar.
Your body makes new cells every day. Folic acid helps make those new cells healthy ones.
Some people believe a daily glass of red wine is a healthy way to unwind in the evening.
Prioritize Mental Health
Keeping our minds as healthy as our bodies should be a priority for all of us. Here are a few ways to do that:
Take care of your body. We already touched on the best ways to do this with proper diet and exercise.
Connect with others. Man was not meant to live alone, and neither was woman. Having someone to share your goals and concerns with is important.
Find a local support group if you're going through an emotionally troubling experience. It could be stress at work, trouble with teenagers or any of a number of things.
Recognize when you might need additional help. There's a lot of information online about dealing with stress. There are also hotlines and counselors.
Practice Healthy Behaviors
Practicing healthy behaviors is a habit we all need to get into if we're not already there.
Getting enough – and proper – sleep is not mentioned often enough in this regard. But it's very important. It can make a big difference in your health and your attitude.
Avoid distracted driving. Don't text while driving and keep your focus on the road. As many as nine deaths and 1,000 injuries per day are attributed to distracted driving.
Don't smoke tobacco. Don't abuse alcohol or drugs. These are no-brainers, but they're also the cause of many problems for far too many people..