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Mother’s Day is just around the corner, offering the perfect opportunity to honor all of the moms, aunts, sisters, grandmothers and others in our lives who have cared for us, nurtured us and encouraged us over the years - but did you know that the annual observance is followed by a full week focused on action and awareness around women’s health?
While taking care of one’s physical and mental health is important for people of all ages, there are some conditions and considerations - including menopause and osteoarthritis - that are unique to women or impact women differently. With that in mind, 21 years ago the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health created National Women’s Health Week to encourage girls and women to make good choices and prioritize their physical and mental wellness - an increasingly important endeavor as we continue to battle a pandemic.
Staying healthy helps reduce the risk of disease, promotes a longer lifespan, improves mood, and fosters higher energy levels for engaging in favorite activities with family and friends, to name just a few benefits. So, why not use the seven days of National Women’s Health Week, which this year runs from May 9 through 15, as a springboard to optimum health by incorporating one or more of the practices below, or encouraging the women in your life to do so?
Stay physically active. Whether you are going for a swim, taking a bike ride, or enjoying a walk through a local forest preserve such as Busse Woods in Elk Grove Village or one of the many wonderful parks in the Schaumburg area, exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and lower the risk of certain diseases, to name just a few benefits.
Get regular physicals and schedule recommended screenings, including mammograms, colonoscopies and high blood pressure checks, to ensure that treatable conditions are caught as early as possible.
Get adequate sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend seven hours or more a night for adults age 18 to 60 years old, seven to nine hours for those aged 61 to 64 years, and seven to eight hours for adults 65 and older. Make sure your sleep is high-quality by practicing good sleep hygiene - going to sleep at the same time each night, removing electronic devices from the bedroom, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine.
Keep in touch with friends and family and maintain strong social connections, whether virtually or in-person as conditions permit. Studies have shown that people with stronger social relationships enjoy improved physical and mental health, which is why staff at Friendship Village in Schaumburg plan a variety of social and recreational activities for residents throughout the year. The senior living community’s own Women’s Week leading up to Mother’s Day features daily activities corresponding to specific dimensions of wellness, including Mother’s Day trivia, clay pot painting on Cinco de Mayo, and an ice cream crawl!
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet including a variety of fruits, vegetables and proteins. This is especially easy to do at Friendship Village, with its wealth of available dining options for residents. Experts recommend starting small: select healthier options for one meal, such as eggs or fruit at breakfast, and use that as a springboard to improve your diet overall.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that “it is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver” - so whether or not you are among the recipients of chocolates, flowers, jewelry or another gift on Mother’s Day, be sure to embrace the importance of maintaining your health - your “real wealth” - during National Women’s Health Week May 9-15!