It’s all about us this month – or at least it should be!
May is not only the month we celebrate “Mother’s Day,” but also “National Women’s Health Week,” May 9-15. Coordinated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, this weeklong observance encourages women to take simple steps to achieve healthier and happier lives.
As our families’ chief caregivers and health decision-makers, it’s important that we take time to care for ourselves. Have you heard the expression, “If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will?” Well, that’s especially true for women. We are often caregivers as mothers, spouses, and children of aging parents, so it’s not always easy or possible to find the time for ourselves.
Our health suffers when we put off routine health care. Therefore, it is especially important that we take the time to maintain or improve our health. In fact, studies show that when women take care of themselves, their families’ health improves as well.
What things you can do today to become healthier?
Avoid processed foods and eat a nutritious diet low in saturated fats. Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Attain or maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about your ideal weight and the safest way to achieve it.
Get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week as recommended in “The Woman Challenge.” This online physical activity program is designed to help you achieve better health in eight weeks. I am participating in it – and so should you. To learn more, visit the following site: www.womenshealth.gov.
Get regular checkups. If it’s been a year or longer since your last physical or doctor’s appointment, schedule one today!
Make sure your health maintenance is current, including getting appropriate vaccinations and a screening mammogram every year, even if you are older! Breast cancer increases with age, so you should continue screening mammograms yearly if your life expectancy is more than five years.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and excessive drinking and reduce risky activities that can lead to falls and broken bones. If it’s no longer safe to drive, give up your car for walking and alternative transportation.
Manage your stress. Take time to recharge yourself and decrease the amount of things on your plate.
Come on, ladies! Let’s get and stay healthy together! For more information, go to www.womenshealth.gov.
Dr. Sonja Rosen is a board-certified geriatrician with the top-ranked UCLA Geriatrics Program in Santa Monica and Westwood. For more information, call (310) 319-4371.
Dr. Sonja Rosen
Special to the Mirrorstaff@smmirror.com