Last week was National Women’s Health Week and in an article written by Catherine Al-Meten and published in examiner.com she writes, “it is a time for raising awareness and a time for asking ourselves what we could do to improve our health and well being. After doing an assessment of how you are living currently, and paying attention to where you may be out of balance or in need of support, we next look at some ways to become more proactive with your own health. What are some steps you can take?”
First, we should take charge of your own health. Don’t wait until there is an urgent issue with your health, be proactive and take steps to prevent health urgencies. Al-Meten also suggest that if you are not comfortable with the communication you have with your doctor, find one that listens and is willing to be a partner in your healthy lifestyle choices.
Next, listen to your body. We may fear that we have a problem, but are afraid to find out. There are many local free resources. The Lee’s Summit Medical Center has a great program to educate women (and men) on how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. /There are a number of local free health fairs that offer screenings. St. Luke’s Hospital East and Truman Medical Center also offer free patient education programs that provide opportunities to learn more about your own health. There is a vast amount of information on the internet and the public libraries that will help you take care of your own and your family’s health.
Also, exercise is an important part of everyone’s health. Whatever your goal, do something everyday. Whether it is to walk around the block or run 5 miles. The local swimming pools will be open next weekend so take advantage of it or visit the gym. Get outside often and get some fresh air and some sunshine (Vitamin D).
I like how Al-Meten says that we should “Eat well, eat intentionally and eat mindfully”. Take some time to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Take a healthy lunch and snack to work with you, and don’t forget to drink water.
Make it a habit to eat regularly before you feel hungry. Think of food as fuel for the road. Eat a healthy meal before you need the fuel; not after you have run the race. We are all guilty of eating at our desk or while watching TV. Make meals a social occasion; a chance to talk with your family or partner. Be aware (mindful) of the food and the people with whom you are sharing this experience.
We often are so busy taking care of other people, doing our work, running errands, doing chores, or taking care of something or someone, that we forget about taking care of ourselves. Start today and do something healthy for yourself.
Judy Schmoeger, a longtime resident of Lee’s Summit, is owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness.