As we celebrate Mother’s Day this month, it’s important to acknowledge and encourage healthy habits not just for Mom, but for all women in our community.
By their very nature, women have unique and complex health concerns. Many health issues only affect women and while many more illnesses and conditions are shared, some can be more common in women. For a few examples, heart attacks tend to be more dangerous in women, osteoarthritis affects more women than men as we age, and women are more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Therefore, taking steps to avoid or minimize disease, injury, and extend your quality of life is more important for now more than ever. Here are some important guidelines to consider.
Keep an eye on your diet
Taking care of yourself starts with a balanced diet. This is vital to women’s health, going beyond any weight loss or fitness routines. Eating healthy provides your body with the proper nutrients – and at the proper times – when your body needs them most. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts are key to your wellbeing. Avoid processed foods and those which are loaded with sugar, sodium, and empty calories.
Supplement your diet with specialty vitamins
Some vitamins are specifically tailored for women. This starts with a women’s multivitamin, which can be found in any store or pharmacy. Health food stores often carry other female-specific vitamins as well. The best way to get the proper minerals and nutrients your body needs is through your diet, but supplementing with vitamins is a good idea, too.
Exercise your body and your mind
Physical and mental exercise are paramount for your overall health. Exercise is one of the most important ways to guard against heart disease, which is a leading cause of death for women in America.
The good news is, you don’t have to live in the gym or dedicate yourself to a challenging fitness routine. Just 30 minutes per day at least three to four days per week of moderate cardio exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming or even dancing will go a long way to improving your cardiovascular health. Adding in weight training or yoga has many additional benefits for women’s physical health as well.
Taking care of your mental health is equally important. Between work, your family, hectic schedules and unexpected challenges, stress, anxiety, and depression can develop quickly for women today. These factors can lead to increased blood pressure, physical discomfort, and a lack of sleep.
Fortunately, there are some good ways to combat these everyday stresses. In addition to exercise, practicing meditation or simple breathing techniques for just a few minutes per day have been shown to reduce stress levels and allow you to refocus your energy in better ways.
For more information on ways to improve and maintain your physical health and wellbeing, visit www.bchealthdepartment.org, or call us at 815-872-5091.
Bureau, Putnam & Marshall County Health Departments
526 Bureau Valley Parkway
Princeton, IL 61356