The last Wednesday in September is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. This marks the largest annual health promotion for women. Women often neglect their own health choosing to take care of others instead. This self-neglect can, unfortunately, lead to poor health, heart attacks, and strokes. According to the CDC, less than 50% of all women meet the federal guidelines for aerobic activity, nearly 1/3 of all women over the age of 20 have high blood pressure, and the #1 cause of death for women is heart disease.
Let’s work to change these statistics!
Whether taking care of kids, families, or managing a business, women have important leadership roles and they need to be in good health in order to do them well. Change in your lifestyle does not have to be drastic or immediate, but small steps towards a healthy life can make a large impact.
Here are a few suggestions on how to celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day and live a healthier lifestyle.
Phone a Friend
Call your close girlfriends and get each other motivated! Meet for a couple of hours or make it a full day’s event. Gather for brunch, and go for a walk or hike afterwards. Go to the new local restaurant and try new foods. End the day with a relaxing yoga session or a rigorous workout. Working out with a buddy has been proven to improve mental well-being, make exercise more fun and even increase weight loss results.
Try Something New
There is nothing like stepping out of your comfort zone. It might be stretch and sometimes a little uncomfortable, but those growing pains can pay off. Spinning in the pool? Why not? Changing up your work outs can actually be good for your health and fitness. Seize the day and give something new a go.
It is hard for many moms to find a moment to relax, but doing so can help relieve stress. Relaxing can be as simple as deep breathing for 5 minutes. Some other ways to unwind are to listening to music, reading, mediating, yoga, taking a bath, and writing or journaling. Another benefit to relaxing during the day is it can improve your sleep at night and help with insomnia.
It can be difficult to eat healthy foods when you are on-the-go or focusing on caring for your children, but when you consider some of the benefits, it’s well worth the effort. Eating healthy foods can improve mood, reduce weight gain, prevent diseases and illness, increase energy levels, and help you to live longer. Hydration is also a key component of a healthy diet.
It is important to note women have different dietary needs than men. In general, women have more fat and less muscle than men which means women require fewer calories than men. During reproductive years, women need more folic acid to decrease the risk of birth defects. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis. One way to increase the strength of your bones is to eat food with calcium and vitamin D.
In an effort to accomplish all of the different tasks of the day women often go to bed late and wake up early. Women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Not receiving enough sleep can result in increased accidents, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and getting sick.
We recommend between 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When you get the proper amount of sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines which fight infections, resulting in a stronger immune system. Sleep also helps you to maintain mental and physical energy along with improving your memory.
Schedule a Physical Exam
As an adult, you may think a physical exam is unnecessary if you are healthy. A well visit ensures you have your immunizations up to date. Your doctor can also screen for cancer, (skin, breast, ovarian, cervical, etc.) heart conditions, diabetes, cholesterol levels, and other chronic diseases. You can also discuss with your provider mental health issues such as stress or depression. Set up an appointment with Pocatello Women’s Health Clinic today.
Create Healthy Habits
If you try at least one of these activities, you might find it is easier to do than you thought. If you make an effort to incorporate it into your life, you will create healthy habits which will benefit you and your family.