Monday, May 15, 2017

No matter your age, it’s not too early or late for starting the journey on becoming your best, healthy self – and that’s the general message of National Women’s Health Week, which kicked off on Mother’s Day and runs through May 20th.

The week, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, serves as a reminder to women to take care of themselves. It empowers women to make both physical and mental health a priority. 

There are some striking statistics out there regarding women’s health. For example, 36% of women over the age of 20 are considered obese, 32% of women 20 years and over have hypertension, one in three women die of heart disease and stroke, and twice as many women suffer from depression than men.

Being the healthiest version of yourself is a lifelong endeavor. While there are aspects of our health we can’t control, let’s focus on what we can control.

Something that improves health and is applicable at any age is eating healthy. Nearly two out of three women in the United States die from diseases like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. You can diminish the risk of developing chronic diseases with a healthy diet that comprises lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins.

Your behaviors also strongly tie into the risk of poor health developments. Seat belts lower your risk of serious injury in car crashes by 50% and smoking causes 80% of lung cancer deaths among women. Furthermore, physical activity also reduces risk of heart disease and cancer. Completing 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity is recommended every week – just a 30-minute brisk walk each day can lower your risk of breast cancer. The more you exercise, the more you can lower your risk!

And let’s not forget mental health, a critical aspect of a woman’s overall health. Getting enough sleep and managing stress are vital in sustaining a strong well-being. 

The Office on Women’s Health encourages you to bring healthy practices to the workplace. There are some simple ways to be healthy even while you work, including: organizing lunchtime walks with coworkers, conduct standing-only meetings, host a healthy-driven potluck, or even try to bring a local fitness instructor for some lunch-time yoga! Little things can lead to great things!

Every day we’re faced with copious decisions and the more decisions we make that steer toward improving our health the better. From tiny decisions, like snacking on fruit instead of chips, to large decisions, like committing to long-term workout plans, there are numerous ways to prioritize health. 

Here’s to healthy living!