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10 Tips for Women's Health & Fitness

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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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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 supplements.
  1. 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, and strawberries.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.