National Women’s Health (NWH) Week begins every year on Mother’s Day to encourage women to make their health a priority. Women often spend more time meeting the needs of others rather than nurturing their own needs. But NWH week serves as a reminder to all women to focus on the importance of incorporating simple, preventative and positive health behaviors into everyday life.
It is extremely important for women and girls, especially those with underlying health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and women 65 years and older, to take care of your health now.
Here are some manageable steps you can take to improve your physical and mental health:
- Get your Zzzz’s – Regularly getting enough sleep is important for your overall health and it impacts how you feel and perform during the day. The average adult needs to strive for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
- Move more – Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to get and stay healthy. Women of all ages benefit from being active and this activity will help you feel better and more energized throughout the day. The more you can move, the better. Try to be physically active for at least a continuous 30 minutes per day.
- Eat healthy – The basics of healthy eating and good nutrition are the same for women and men. But women have some unique nutritional needs, especially in different stages of life. According to womenshealth.gov, healthy eating means choosing different types of healthy food from all of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins), most of the time, in the correct amounts for you. Healthy eating also means limiting foods with added sugar, sodium (salt), and saturated and trans fats.
- Schedule annual check-ups – Visit your healthcare provider regularly and discuss what screening, exams or vaccines you may need. Preventative care can keep disease away or detect problems early, when treatment is more effective.
- Practice safe and healthy behaviors – Avoid dangerous habits such as not wearing a seatbelt or texting while driving. We all know the dangers of smoking and excessive drinking. Now is the time to stop these behaviors. If you need help, talk to your healthcare provider today for ways to quit!
Building healthy habits into your life takes practice, and we all learn as we go. Hopefully, pausing to reflect on your health and finding simple tweaks you can make to your routine will help you take the next step on your journey to a healthier you!