By: Cheryl Maguire
Mark your calendar for September 27, to remind yourself (or a woman you know) to celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. Over 50,000 women of all ages will participate in events across 500 different nationwide communities. You can check your local senior centers, hospital, health club, or park and recreation department to see if the venue is hosting an event.
As a mother, it is easy to focus on caring for your children instead of your own health and fitness. There are some days you may feel as if you hear your child say “mom I need help” at least 100 times. Even though you might forget to take care of yourself, it is important to make it a priority because when you do you will be a better role model and mother for you children.
So on September 27th try to do at least one or more of these five activities listed below to celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day:
1. Schedule a Physical Exam: As an adult, you may think a physical exam is unnecessary if you are healthy. A well visit ensures you have your immunizations up to date. Your doctor can also screen for cancer, (skin, breast, ovarian, cervical, etc.) heart conditions, diabetes, cholesterol levels, and other chronic diseases. You can also discuss with your physician mental health issues such as stress or depression; and, if necessary, you can be referred to a specialists.
2. Exercise: According to Women’s Day Magazine, exercise has ten benefits for women other than weight loss. Many of these benefits are related to your health such as reducing your risk for cancer or minimizing stress, depression, and anxiety. If you exercise with a friend, it can also be a great way to socialize or meet new people. As an added bonus, many fitness centers, such as the YMCA, provide free child care while you work out.
3. Eat Healthy: An article in Healthline states some of the rewards you can experience by eating healthy foods are improved mood, avoiding weight gain, preventing diseases and illness, increasing your energy levels, and helping you to live longer. It can be difficult to eat healthy foods when you are on-the-go or focusing on caring for you children, but when you consider all of the above benefits it is worth making the effort.
It is important to note women have different dietary needs than men. In general, women have more fat and less muscle than men which means women require fewer calories than men. During reproductive years, women need more folic acid to decrease the risk of birth defects. Women are more likely to get osteoporosis—80% of people diagnosed with this disease are women—a disease causing weak bones. One way to increase the strength of your bones is to eat food with calcium.
4. Relax: It is hard for many moms to find a moment to relax, but doing so can help relieve stress. Relaxing can be as simple as deep breathing for 5 minutes. Some other ways to unwind are to listening to music, reading, mediating, yoga, taking a bath, and writing or journaling. Another benefit to relaxing during the day is it can improve your sleep at night and help with insomnia.
5. Sleep: Most moms forgo sleep in an effort to accomplish all of the different tasks of the day which results in going to bed late or waking up early. A poll in 2005 by the National Sleep Foundation found that women are more likely than men to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Not receiving enough sleep can result in increased accidents, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and getting sick.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults receive between 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When you get the proper amount of sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines which fight infections, resulting in a stronger immune system. Sleep also helps you to maintain mental and physical energy along with improving your memory.
Create Healthy Habits
If you try at least one of these activities, you might find it is easier to do than you thought. If you make an effort to incorporate it into your life, you will create healthy habits which will benefit you and your family.