Next week (May 9th-15th) marks National Women’s Health Week where the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health (OWA) encourages women to be mindful of their physical and psychological well-being. As women we are often pulled in so many directions and therefore find it difficult to take that ever so important time for ourselves. As a fitness professional, I encourage clients, family, friends and co-workers to pay attention to their lifestyle and take the time to exercise, eat healthy, see their health care professionals and get enough sleep.
The OWA reiterates what those in my industry and the even broader health care industry preach with the week’s theme, “It's Your Time.” This nationwide initiative empowers women to take the smaller steps toward longevity and quality of life through the following guidelines:
• Getting at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, one hour 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both each week
• Eating a nutritious diet
• Visiting a health care professional to receive regular check-ups and screenings
• Avoiding risky behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seat belt
• Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
As women we are often both role models and examples to younger generations, so it is important to encourage an active lifestyle. In order to get in the recommended amount of exercise, I encourage you to take a 45-50 minute walk, bike ride or whatever your favorite cardiovascular activity may be three times a week. On two of the alternate days, you should do about 25 minutes of strength training. Do an additional day of some sort of mind/body stretching activity such as Pilates or Yoga. Give yourself the seventh day to rest and recover.
Of course you want to be able to perform your physical activity with optimum results, so make sure you are fueling your body with lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. Try to eat food in its natural state and unprocessed.