Why do we need a week?
I did an informal survey of the ladies in my office and found that many of them only go once a year for their pap smear or haven’t been to a doctor in years. The main reason why they don’t go? They don’t have time because they are too busy working and taking care of their family. I’ve said it before but here goes: if you don’t make time for wellness, you will have to make time for illness. Many diseases and ailments can be treated, prevented, and/or cured if caught in time.
To find out what you should have checked, the National Women’s Health Week website provides a great tool: click here to use it. This site can help you develop a health care plan and keep track of your various appointments. In between visits you still need to take certain steps to help you maintain, and hopefully even improve, your health so that your next trip to the doctor is just routine.
Here are some basic recommended steps to good health:
- Eat a healthy diet: Watch your portion sizes and total intake, avoid sugary drinks and fatty foods—drink water and reduce consumption of high calorie restaurant and take-out foods. Reduce your sodium, increase your fruit & vegetable intake and exercise daily!
- Watch restaurant calories: When you eat out, keep your calories in check by planning what you are going to order in advance. Many restaurants have nutrition guides online. A general rule of thumb is to avoid fried foods and desserts but there are many hidden calories, even in seemingly healthy items like salads.
- Get sweaty: Get a MINIMUM of 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity on most days of the week or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week, or a combination of both.
- Go to the Doctor: Make and keep appointments for physical checkups and preventive screenings.
- Be safe Avoid risky behaviors, such as smoking, drinking excess alcohol (ladies, no more than one drink a day), drinking and driving, texting while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
- De-stress Pay attention to your mental health by getting enough sleep and managing stress—deep breathing, yoga and tai chi are good places to start.
Please take some time for yourself- your family needs you!