Heart & Soul
As a woman in today’s world, there are constant demands on your time. So you must make the conscious choice that your own health and well-being are priorities. That means smart choices — choices about your physical health and your mental health … your body and mind … your heart and soul.
Did you know that the leading cause of death among U.S. women is cardiovascular disease? It kills five times more women than breast cancer. The number-three cause is stroke. And the number-six cause is unintentional injuries. Most of those deaths can be traced back to bad choices. A poor diet. Alcohol and tobacco use. Not wearing a seatbelt.
While there’s no guarantee that making smart choices will extend your life, or even improve your quality of life, odds are in your favor. You know most of these:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Don’t smoke
• Get regular screenings
• Stay active
• Wear sunscreen
• Limit alcohol consumption
The basics of good health are the same no matter your age. But sometimes things like “staying active” seem too hard.
You know, you don’t have to “exercise.” Consider some creative alternatives. Gardening is a great low intensity workout. It will strengthen your grip and your hands. The bending and twisting work your core and improve flexibility. Standing and squatting work your legs. And even if you’re in your own backyard, you’re communing with nature. Or, how about window shopping or sightseeing in your own hometown? Just make sure you have comfortable shoes. (Hint: Don’t buy by size, buy by fit.)
Don’t ignore your mental health. And don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. The stigma is gone. Each year, one in three U.S. adults report a diagnosable mental health problem. Depression is the most common mental health problem for women. Women are also twice as likely as men to have panic disorders, general anxiety and specific phobias. They are also more likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic event.
If you’re just stressing, make time for yourself:
• Read a book
• Soak in a tub
• Have a cup of tea
• Hang out with friends
Exercise can also help relieve symptoms of some conditions, such as depression.
Remember two things: Stay active. Make smart choices.
Body and mind. Heart and soul.