National Women’s Health Week begins each year on Mother’s Day. Its goal is to empower women of all ages with the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions about their physical and mental health. National Women’s Checkup Day, observed on the Monday following Mother’s Day, reminds women about the importance of scheduling regular checkups with a doctor.
Yearly “well-woman” checkups are essential and often the key to spotting problems early.
Early detection increases your chances for successful treatment. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e., what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need health care.
Here are a few more quick tips to help women get a head start on staying healthy:
Stay active. One study found that women who participated in just 2.5 hours of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) each week had a 25% lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t exercise at all. And if you walk outdoors, you double the benefits! Researchers at the University of Michigan recently found that women who engaged in weekly group nature walks reported enhanced mental health and improved overall well-being, along with fewer signs of depression and stress.
Eat a healthy diet. Choosing the right foods is important for a healthy body and mind, but where do you start? Numerous studies point to a Mediterranean-style diet rich in healthy fats, protein, leafy green veggies, low-sugar fruits, nuts and legumes. Known for its cardiovascular benefits, the Mediterranean diet has also been shown to support weight management, healthy aging and even a balanced gut.
Hit snooze. Too little sleep has been linked to weight gain, a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, mood changes and more. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, but many women fall short of that goal. Start small by wrapping up your day a little earlier and making a conscious effort to get in bed an hour before your normal bed time. Creating a darker sleeping environment and/or putting away electronic devices may help you fall asleep more easily.
Love your gut. Renew Life recently talked to women about digestive health and here’s what we learned: Despite the fact that nearly three quarters of the women said they experienced an occasional digestive upset in the past year, 64% said they prefer not to talk about gut issues with their friends and would rather discuss unpopular opinions than their tummy issues.
It is important for women to remember that up to 70% of the immune system is in the gut—which means a healthy, balanced gut is essential for overall well-being. Good bacteria called probiotics play an important role in supporting ongoing digestive health and immune function; however, factors such as everyday stress, diet and aging may upset the healthy bacterial balance in the gut. Taking a daily probiotic supplement can help support digestive balance and immune health every day.*
Improving health through education
Over the last 30 years, the U.S. has seen significant improvements in women’s health, including fewer deaths from heart disease, a decline in cancer rates and better access to physical and mental health care. Still, 13% of all women 18 and over are considered to be in “fair or poor health,” and less than half are meeting the federal guidelines for physical activity. Renew Life encourages women of all ages to take part in walks, workshops and other events happening in communities nationwide.