National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is recognized each year on the last Wednesday in September. In 2021, that is tomorrow, the 29th. It serves as an opportunity for women of all ages to join together and support each individual’s health and fitness journey. Women have the option to participate in many events hosted by local gyms and fitness centers around the nation, including relays, exercise and dance classes, jogathons, and more. In addition, National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is the perfect time for women to reflect on their personal mental and physical health and consider getting screened for various medical conditions that can affect them.
Learning about positive and negative daily habits, becoming educated on various diseases and medical conditions, and visiting doctors, such as dentists and nutritionists, for screening can better prepare both women and men to live happier and healthier lives. Women are at a greater risk of osteoporosis and bone-related diseases, lupus and autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, mood disorders, and more. By understanding the potential risk factors, women can better prepare themselves for the future, improving their chances of diagnosis and successful treatment.
Are you interested in learning about women’s health? We’ve got the insider scoop on everything to do with maintaining optimal health and wellness, including frequent exercise, nutrition, and stress management.
Back in the mid-twentieth century, fitness centers practically didn’t exist. They didn’t need to. Most individuals walked or exercised as part of their daily routine, diets contained more fresh ingredients instead of preservatives, and people consumed in moderation. Fast-forward to today, and fast-food chains, advanced technology, and other modern conveniences mean that we are unhealthier than ever before. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of adults (42.4 percent) in the US are obese. And to make matters worse, obesity is linked to over 60 chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and stroke.
This goes to show that exercise is an essential part of a modern-day routine. Not only does it serve as an outlet to manage the stress and demands of the current work environment during the pandemic, but it leads to a healthier and happier lifestyle. There are many forms of exercise, so, if you’re not someone who particularly enjoys cardio, have no fear. Try out a group class, such as high fitness or yoga. Consider weight training, especially for those women who are predisposed to developing osteopenia or osteoporosis. For those who would thrive with an accountability partner, consider enlisting the help of a good friend or joining a Facebook group where you can connect with other women who are on a similar journey.
It is no secret that nutrition is an essential pillar in our overall health and wellness. And a well-balanced diet is vital in supporting women’s health. A diverse diet should include adequate vegetables, fruit, proteins, and carbohydrates. Women should also pay special attention to their intake of folate, calcium, and iron, as these are common deficiencies that can lead to many problems later in life. Diets that are high in fat can lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels and an increased risk for heart disease.
Women, in particular, go through many stages of life where their needs for nutrients and calories change, such as during development, pregnancy, and menopause. Please consult with your primary care physician (PCP) to determine your specific needs and ensure that your body has what it needs to function correctly. Additionally, there are many online resources such as womenshealth.gov and nutrition.gov, where you can read about balanced diets, health, and nutrition as well as connect with experts.
While stress stimulates the immune system, helping you avoid infection and heal wounds, it also backfires during prolonged periods of stress, weakening the immune system, reducing your response to foreign invaders, and leading to feelings of mental and physical distress. Therefore, it is essential to understand your normal stress levels and find ways to release, unwind, and relax. One way to manage stress is to practice breathing exercises via mindful breathing, meditation, or exercise, such as yoga. It also helps to make sure you get enough sleep each night, between seven and nine hours for adult women. Women are 40 percent more prone to insomnia than men. They also experience more hormonal changes, which can lead to daytime fatigue and excessive drowsiness. Sleep is critical to a woman’s well-being and ability to function correctly.
Another way women can manage stress is by staying socially connected. The pandemic caused a massive shift in the way individuals around the world interact with each other. Get-togethers turned to virtual visits. In-office work turned to at-home assignments. Nearly all women experienced a necessary but potentially detrimental shift to their daily lives. A lack of social interaction causes increased anxiety, depression, impaired decision-making, mental decline, and more. By connecting with friends and family, women improve their happiness score tenfold. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to set some social boundaries.
Self-care is a multidimensional process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance an individual’s well-being. “It is vital for building resilience toward stressors in life that you can’t eliminate,” states Elizabeth Scott, MS. Your mental health is your priority, and it’s essential to take time for yourself to meditate, read a book, watch a movie, and ground yourself in your environment.
From following an exercise routine and consuming adequate nutrition to managing stress levels, there are many ways for women to establish a healthy lifestyle. National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is the perfect time to reflect on your personal mental and physical health and consider screening for various medical conditions that can affect women and men worldwide. Remember, the foundation for success is to connect with those around you, create a positive environment with others to encourage and support each other, and maintain a positive attitude.