October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a good time for women to pay special attention to their overall health. With help from the Centers for Disease Control and Oldham County Family YMCA Healthy Living Director Karen Wyatt, here are some suggestions for women to attend to their health and fitness. With the return of busy school days and the crush of holiday activities – it’s easy to fall off the “healthy living” wagon.
Get recommended screenings and preventive care
Take steps to protect your health by getting the care you need to prevent disease, disability, and injuries. Regular check-ups are important. Preventive care can keep disease away or detect problems early, when treatment is more effective. Talk to your health care provider to learn more about what screenings and exams you need and when. The care you needed 10 years ago may be different than what you need today. And remember many health insurance plans now offer preventive services for women at no cost.
Get out and about and enjoy what’s left of the fall weather. Even a 30-minute walk at a moderate pace can lower your risk for heart disease – the leading cause of death for women – and ward off osteoporosis. As the colder weather sets in, you might consider joining a gym to stay fit throughout the winter. The Y offers a high-quality, well-maintained Wellness Centers with staff always available to offer support and assistance and the community at the Y makes it more fun to stay fit.
Adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity that require moderate effort and at least 2 days a week do strengthening activities that include all major muscle groups. Strength training can help reduce the chances for falls which means fewer fractures. Fall-related fractures among older women are more than twice those for men.
Enjoy healthy foods
Enjoy the taste, nutrients, and colors of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. With all of the information about nutrition, food choices, and recipes available online and in the media, there’s not excuse not to have a healthy eating plan. Learn the basics and move toward a lifestyle of healthier eating habits. Resolve NOW to limit your intake of sweets and fats over the holidays. It’s important for women to know:
- Every woman needs folic acid every day for the healthy new cells the body makes daily – like skin, hair, and nails. It’s also important to help prevent major birth defects when pregnant.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Binge drinking for women is four or more drinks in a single occasion.
- Get started with a step-by-step guide to weight loss and better health.
Prioritize mental health
Keep your mind and body healthy. At the Y we believe overall wellness involves spirit, mind and body. There is emerging evidence that positive mental health is associated with improved health outcomes. Some easy ways to care for your mental health is to get enough sleep – adults need 7-8 hours each night – find healthy ways to cope with stress.
Practice healthy behaviors
Daily decisions influence overall health. Small actions like washing your hands and wearing a seat belt can help keep you safe and healthy, and set a good example for others. If you smoke, try to quit. More than 170,000 American women die of diseases caused by smoking each year. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit Smokefree Women at women.smokefree.gov for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.
During the month of October, the YMCAs throughout the area are offering special activities to celebrate women’s health. At the Oldham County Family YMCA in Buckner is starting Enhance Fitness classes. This is a proven senior fitness and arthritis management program. Its purpose is to help older adults become more active, energized and empowered for sustaining an active lifestyle. The 16-week program is offered three days each week beginning October 19. The one-time cost is $75 for the 16 weeks.
Visit us at these Y locations for more FREE information and assessments during the month of October:
Friday, October 16: Flu shots, dental consultations, LIVESTRONG information and Y advice about personal training, weight loss and boot camp at the Southeast Family YMCA, 5930 Six Mile Lane.
Monday, October 19: Free blood drive and health fair at Norton Commons, 11000 Brownsboro Road
Tuesday, October 20: Lunch and learn about lymphedema provided by LIVESTRONG at the Northeast YMCA, 9400 Mill Brook Road.