Oak Hills Womens Center

National Women's Health Week

May 11-17, 2014

This is YOUR Time.

It’s time to make yourself a priority.

Let’s face it, we women tend to put everyone else first! From children to work to husband and parents, we spread ourselves thin taking care of others. Well, what’s wrong with that?

What about taking care of ourselves?

In general, we put our health needs last after every other possible support role we exercise. While people may appreciate what we do, we may actually be putting ourselves into a health risk category if we are neglecting our regular care and checkups.

National Women's Health Week encourages women to focus on our own health and well-being.

Research has shown that when women take care of their own health, the health of their families tends to improve as well. So, it’s time to take care of a very special person in your life—you. You can start by nurturing yourself with healthy food, regular physical activity that you enjoy, quality sleep, sufficient time for relaxing, and stress-reducing activities. Also, be sure to follow up with any scheduled visits that you may have with your health care provider.

Take Care of Yourself

The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health recommends the following for women to safeguard their physical and mental health with the potential to lower risk of disease, too. Sound good? We recommend putting it into the calendar to avoid forgetting, too!

1) Exercise
It’s important for us to exercise our bodies at least 30 minutes 5 times weekly. Aim for activities such as walking fast, dancing, or playing chase with the kids. Then add muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights or using exercises bands at least 2 days a week.

The benefits of exercise are numerous and long-lived so try walking at lunch or after dinner and consider taking up swimming this summer.

2) Eat a nutritious diet.
Balancing the calories we consume against those we burn through activity is a daily balancing act. Find out the right amount of calorie intake for your body and set goals for yourself.

  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Whole Grain Foods
  • Lean Protein
  • Dairy & Calcium-rich foods
  • Water

And Stay away from foods with too much sodium, Fats, trans fatty acids, cholesterol, sugar and limit alcohol when trying to lose weight.

3) Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can raise your risk of conditions which seriously impact your health. Maintaining a healthy weight is about eating the right foods in the right quantity and getting regular physical activity. Remember:

  • To maintain your weight, you need to burn as many calories as you take in
  • To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you take in

Also, healthy weight loss isn't just about a "diet" or "program." The key to success is ongoing lifestyle choices that include long-term changes in daily eating and physical activity habits. Realistic goals with small and consistent wins will bring you back to a weight that is healthy for you. To get started, consider a program such as My Fit Foods which is based on healthy, nutritious meals.

5) Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
Are you due for a mammogram or pap test? Keeping those regular appointments contributes to a healthier YOU! And you lower your risk of multiple health conditions. Make your appointment today – you’ll feel productive about taking care of YOU.

4) Avoid using tobacco

If you’re still smoking, know that there is help available to you to quit once and for all. The benefits of stopping smoking are numerous:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heart rate
  • Healthier lungs
  • Decrease in shortness of breath
  • No more annoying cough

Check with your doctor on the plans available to you. And avoid vapor cigarettes as the data suggests we don’t know enough about their potentially harmful effects.

5) Avoid drinking too much
Alcohol can be a regular part of socializing but it’s also a drug. Taking in too much alcohol can lead to safety and health risks. If you don’t already drink, the recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not to start. If you do drink, the recommendation for moderate drinking is one drink or less per day for women. Like all good things, moderation is the key.

6) Take care of your mental health by managing stress and getting enough quality sleep.
Stress is a normal part of life. But how we handle that stress can affect our health on a long-term basis. Begin with having a conversation with your physician about how to practice self-care and deal with stressor in your life. As women in the 21st century, the list of things which challenge us and create stress can seem overwhelming. The better we take care of ourselves, the more we can be there for others.

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