Every woman’s health journey is unique, and taking care of your health
is important no matter your age. The more health-informed choices you
make when you’re younger can pave the way for a healthier future.
However, it’s never too late to start making better choices to take
care of your body and mind.
September 30 is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day—a reminder
to all women to cherish their health and strive for wellness. Here are
some ways to celebrate while taking care of yourself:
Get active (and stay active!) Every woman’s exercise requirements differ, but in general, you
should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate
exercise at least five days a week. If you stick with an exercise routine, you’ll
see benefits like lowered blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, improved
mood and cognitive function, and improved general wellbeing. Need help
getting started? Our
ProMotion Fitness program can help you achieve and maintain your healthy lifestyle goals.
Work out with a friend. Asking a friend to join you in exercise is an excellent way to stay motivated
and work toward a healthier lifestyle together. Plus, socializing with
a good friend is great for your mental health. While you should still practice
social distancing with anyone not in your household, you can ask a friend to join you for
a jog or brisk walk outdoors as long as you stay at least six feet apart.
Get regular mammograms. Prevention is your first defense against breast cancer. Begin annual
mammograms when you turn 40, but if you have a personal history or family history
of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about beginning screening sooner.
Get your thyroid checked. Both an underactive
thyroid (hypothyroidism) and an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause
issues with your concentration, mood, and weight. While thyroid problems
affect any gender, it’s much more common in women; in fact, 1 in
8 women will develop thyroid problems in her lifetime. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
include a rapid or irregular heartbeat, irritability, unexplained weight
loss, feeling hot when others do not, and trouble sleeping. Hypothyroidism
symptoms include slow metabolism, depression, sensitivity to cold temperatures,
joint or muscle pain, dry skin, and fatigue. If you have any of these
symptoms or if it’s been a while since you last had your thyroid
checked, call your doctor or endocrinologist today.
Love the skin you’re in.
Monitor your skin closely for signs of
skin cancer. Warning signs include a skin growth that grows bigger in size, a mole
larger than the size of a pencil eraser appearing after age 21, or spot
or sore that itches or doesn’t heal within three weeks. Remember
the ABCDE rule: Asymmetry, border irregularity, color that is not uniform,
diameter greater than a pencil eraser, and evolving shape, size, or color.
Know the signs of ovarian cancer. Women are considered at high risk of ovarian cancer if they have the BRCA1
or BRCA2 gene, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, Lynch syndrome,
or the BRIP1, RAP51C, or RAD51D gene. Symptoms of ovarian cancer include
abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain or pressure in the pelvic
area, back pain, bloating, difficulty eating, and a change in bathroom
habits. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately—treatment
is most effective when ovarian cancer is discovered early. If you are
diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Frederick Health’s
surgical oncologists are here to help provide compassionate, comprehensive care.
Eat to strengthen your bones. Especially as you age, you need to be sure your bones are getting the
nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. Eating a diet rich in
calcium and vitamin D is a great way to prevent osteoporosis.
Foods that provide a good source of calcium include dairy products (opt for
low-fat), spinach, white beans, kale, okra, soybeans, and some fish like
sardines and salmon. Foods that provide vitamin D include egg yolks, cheese,
beef liver, and fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. You can also
talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter vitamin D and calcium
Hydrate. You probably hear it all the time, but staying
hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body. If you have trouble
drinking eight glasses of water a day, step up your hydration by eating
water-rich foods like tomatoes, celery, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon,
Take a nap. Naps aren’t just for preschoolers. New research is shedding light
on the health benefits of sleep, which can help keep your heart, mind,
and body healthier. The body tends to get tired after about 8 hours of
being awake, and there’s no shame in taking a
10-20 minute nap to recharge. Just make sure you set an alarm and don’t oversleep—which
can make you feel even drowsier than before.
Eat some chocolate. Taking care of your body isn’t
all about visiting the doctor and eating leafy greens. Eating chocolate (dark chocolate, that is) has plenty of health benefits, and it allows you to savor one
of the foods that you love most. Various research has shown that dark
chocolate may improve your blood flow and lower blood pressure, improve
brain function, reduce your risk of heart disease, and improve blood sugar
levels. Break off a piece of your favorite dark chocolate and indulge a little.
These aren’t the only ways to take good care of your body. If you’re
looking to get motivated to make some healthier changes for a better quality
of life, a simple visit with
your doctor can get you started. Physicians can provide you with health and wellness
tips based on your age, weight, body type, medical history, and physical
abilities. Good luck on your journey to better health.