With 2015 quickly approaching, you may have started thinking about your New Year’s resolution. For many people, a new year symbolizes a new start and a chance to improve one or more aspects of their lives. These changes may include prioritizing family over work, saving more money than you spend or making a commitment to paying off pending loans. One popular resolution, especially among women, is to improve overall health, on the inside and out.
For many women, the path to good health can be full of twists and turns and plenty of roadblocks along the way. Family obligations, workplace stress and lofty weight loss goals are just a few of the main reasons women give up on their New Year’s resolutions before the month of January ends.
To break this trend, Zeid Women’s Health Center has three ways that you can prioritize your health and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the long-term.
1. Get up-to-date on health screenings
There are a variety of preventative care options that are important for women’s health. Areas of screening such as blood pressure, cholesterol and depression are relevant for women of all ages, but there are additional tests that can be helpful as you age. Pap smears to screen for cervical cancer are recommended for those 21 and older, mammograms to test for breast cancer beginning at age 40 and osteoporosis screening tests to check bone strength from age 65 on. Depending on family history, there may be additional screenings necessary, but those listed above would be a great place to start when fulfilling your New Year’s resolution this year.
2. Protect your bones
While it may not strike you as a popular New Year’s resolution, it is a crucial one for women of all ages. Bone health is a message directed at babies and young children, urging them to drink milk and other calcium sources to support their bones. As women age, however, this message seems to get lost. More than 80% of the 44 million Americans with osteoporosis are women, making it a pressing health concern worthy of a New Year’s resolution.
To protect your bones, increase your calcium intake by eating dairy products, dark green vegetables and other calcium-fortified foods such as juices and cereals. Hitting the gym to perform some resistance-training or weight-bearing exercises like walking or running can also be helpful to increasing bone strength.
3. Get active
When women hear these words – get active – they tend to think about going to the gym. Between finding the time around work, commitments at home and the cost of a membership, the gym can be an overwhelming place for those new to exercise and getting fit. Exercise, however, is not something that has to be done in a certain place, at a certain time or in a certain way.
In order be successful at getting active, it only takes a shift in mindset. Every woman, including young women, elderly women and pregnant women can exercise. By performing as little as 20 minutes per day walking outside in the park, doing body weight exercises at home or making a commitment to take the stairs instead of the elevator, you have made a promise to get active in your everyday life. Try to avoid setting lofty goals like, “I want to lose 15 pounds in two weeks,” and instead focus on making lifestyle changes that you’ll stick with for a longer period of time.
There are many different ways that you can prioritize your health in 2015. If you have any questions or are interested in coming in for a screening, be sure to consult your physician. If you live in East Texas, make an appointment with Zeid Women’s Health Center and we’ll help you set a resolution that you can keep!