National Women’s Health and Fitness Day (Sept. 28)

Women meditating in yoga class

Take Charge of Your Health

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is September 28, and your local Capital Women’s Care team of women’s health experts encourages women of all ages to optimize their health through prioritizing regular physical activity, increasing health awareness and choosing to optimize their personal health, so they enjoy long quality lives.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the main issues concerning women’s health include:

  • cancer
  • reproductive health
  • maternal health
  • HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases (STIs/STDs)
  • violence
  • mental health
  • non-communicable diseases
  • being young
  • and aging.

Your local Capital Women’s Care team offers you important tips you can implement to begin or maintain your best health as you continue with your life journey, no matter your age. 

Whether you’re in top shape or want to become healthier, this is the perfect time to focus on taking care of yourself doing any of the following:

  • Join a walking group or another exercise forum.
  • Visit a clinic seminar on portion sizes.
  • Attend a webinar about reducing stress.
  • Learn about incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.
  • Join a meditation or prayer session.
  • Make living a healthy life a lifetime commitment.
  • Schedule a doctor’s appointment.
  • Take a fitness class or do a group fitness activity with your friends.

Healthy Habits for Women

Healthy habits are the best way to avoid disease and illnesses, prolong your life and achieve lifelong wellbeing and contentment. But in the chaos of a woman’s daily life, healthy living oftentimes takes a regular back seat to chores, work, busy schedules, caregiving of children and/or elder relatives and other duties.

There are several simple steps you can take toward enjoying a longer, healthier life:

Get your body moving. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in American women. In the U.S., 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease, plus it keeps your heart strong and is also beneficial for your mental and bone health.

Strive for 30 minutes of movement 4 days per week minimally. Aerobic (cardio) exercise is best. This includes:

  • walking
  • jogging
  • dancing
  • and swimming.

Mix up your fitness routines and keep exercise plans fresh through trying varying activities. Invite a friend or your partner along for both accountability and encouragement.

Cardio exercise combined with strength training offers the best fitness benefits. Strength training builds muscle, boosts metabolism and helps to maintain stronger bones, an especially important benefit for postmenopausal women.

Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. A nourishing diet is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Beyond weight loss and maintenance, eating a balanced diet is crucial to a woman’s overall health. Good foods provide vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are important for growth, wellbeing and development.

Eating a balanced diet starts with avoiding all unhealthy foods. Packaged and processed foods are often full of sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and calories. Instead, opt for healthy choices, including:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fiber-rich foods like beans and leafy greens
  • fresh fish
  • lean cuts of meat and poultry
  • healthy fats like nuts, seeds and olive oil
  • and low-fat dairy.

When grocery shopping, traverse the perimeter of the store, the location for fresh foods. Try to avoid inside aisles, where most boxed and processed foods are stocked. Other tips for healthy grocery shopping include making a list that’s non-negotiable and avoiding food shopping when hungry.

Importantly, a balanced diet is a foundation of weight loss. Extra weight can increase risk of several conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Investigate these 26 evidence-based weight loss tips to help you achieve a healthy weight.

Make healthy choices now for healthy aging. Healthy aging is attributed to daily healthy living choices. Plan now for your future older self’s health:

  • limit alcohol consumption
  • quit or avoid smoking and vaping altogether
  • manage and cope with stress
  • and use sunscreen while outdoors and avoid tanning beds.  

Prioritize sexual health. Sexual health is a vital component at all stages of a woman’s life. It’s important to have regular well woman checkups with your Capital Women’s Care practitioner for:

  • sexually transmitted infection/disease screenings
  • family planning or birth control
  • pap smears
  • breast and pelvic exams
  • personal preconception health plan
  • pregnancy
  • and perimenopause and menopausal issues.

Plan baby’s health. Women of reproductive age need to be mindful of their personal health, as it greatly impacts the health of their babies. Before you become pregnant, you can take significant steps that have positive impact on the health of your baby should you conceive:

  • establish a personalized preconception health plan with your practitioner before trying to conceive
  • avoid smoking, drinking and illicit drugs or behaviors
  • eat a balanced diet
  • maintain an active lifestyle
  • take prenatal vitamins per direction of your Capital Women’s Care practitioner
  • be aware and monitor your health for early signs of pregnancy
  • and schedule your first neonatal care visit as soon as you become pregnant.

Monitor your mental health and wellbeing. Women are more prone to mental health issues than men, largely due to recurring hormone changes that begin surfacing during reproductive years and continue through perimenopause, menopause and post menopause years. 

Do the following to help you effectively monitor your mental health:

  • Have a daily check-in with yourself regarding your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Be mindful of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, both of which are more common in women than in men. If symptoms persist for 2 weeks or longer, schedule an appointment with a trusted mental health care provider.
  • Use effective mindfulness techniques and stress management strategies to help you cope.
  • Enlist help from your partner or a trusted friend if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Take a step back from duties with an intentional break to rejuvenate your mind and reduce your stress levels.
  • Talk with a professional counselor if you feel you need help.

Emphasize breast and reproductive health. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in American women. If you have a family or personal history of breast cancer, your risk for developing this condition is higher. Medical professionals recommend monthly breast self-exams beginning at age 20 years and mammograms beginning at age 40 years or sooner if you have known family history of breast cancer.

It's important for women to be vigilant concerning their reproductive health. Regular recommended well woman checkups play a vital role in early detection of reproductive health concerns, including ovarian, endometrial and uterine cancers, cysts and polyps, plus conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and female infertility issues. Monitor your health and note any symptoms or changes to inform your Capital Women’s Care practitioner. Early detection offers you opportunity for best positive outcome.

Get regular quality sleep each night. A solid sleep lowers your risk of getting sick or developing serious illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. To help you relax, implement a technology-free hour before going to bed and plan soothing nightly rituals like a warm bath or reading a book to get a good night’s sleep. Retire at the same time each night and rise at the same time each day to establish a quality sleep pattern.

Control your stress. Excessive stress from juggling kids, career, responsibilities and home life can wreak havoc on your health, causing:

  • high blood pressure
  • upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues
  • back pain
  • relationship conflicts
  • sleeping difficulties
  • and abdominal weight gain, among others.

Stress also affects your heart health, especially if behaviors (like indulging in too many sweets or alcohol) result in overweightness, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, all of which negatively impact your cardiovascular system and overall health.

You can manage stress with relaxation techniques, including:

  • therapy
  • prayer
  • meditation
  • yoga or tai chi
  • or exercise.

If you’re experiencing stress, read these 11 signs and symptoms of too much stress.

Avoid recognized health risks. Many health issues are common to both men and women. However, some conditions may be more common in women or impact women differently than they do men:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women. Additionally, women are more likely than men to die following a heart attack.

  • Women are more likely to have a stroke than men. Men and women share many of the same risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, women have several unique risk factors. These include birth control use, pregnancy and hormone replacement therapy (HRT.)

  • Women are more likely to suffer urinary tract issues, including incontinence and infections.

  • Women are impacted more from chronic alcohol use than men, including increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer for themselves and imparting known health risks to their unborn babies.

    Alcohol also adversely affects babies born to women who consume alcohol during pregnancy, resulting in a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome, potentially causing brain damage and learning delays.

  • Women are more likely to show signs of depression than men. From ages 14 to 25 years, women are twice as likely than men to have depression. The ratio narrows as both sexes age.

  • Women over age 45 years are more prone to osteoarthritis than men.

Prevent disease and know your risks. Search out and relay your family health history to your practitioner so they can determine early detection recommendations to incorporate within your personal health plan.

Other things you can do to prevent disease is to:

  • avoid or quit smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke
  • limit alcohol consumption
  • and practice good dental and oral health, as doing so may reduce risk of heart disease.

Visit your doctor. In addition to breast exams and gynecological visits, visit your doctor regularly for checkups and screening exams. You should have blood work, blood pressure and weight, plus other preventive testing measures completed at your annual physical to ensure you maintain sound health.

Your Capital Women’s Care team of expert, caring women’s health doctors, nurses and support staff is here to answer your questions or concerns relating to what you can do to optimize your health or any women’s health issue. Our staff prioritizes offering you and your family comprehensive care, treatment and services, so you enjoy long, quality lives.

Sources:

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-womens-health-fitness-day-last-...
https://www.fitnessday.com/women/
https://nationaltoday.com/national-womens-health-and-fitness-day/
https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/womens-health-essential-steps-for-tak...
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/27-health-and-nutrition-tips
https://www.cdc.gov/women/index.htm
https://www.womenshealth.gov/getting-active/physical-activity-all-women

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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