The end of September brings two national health observances – World Heart Day on September 29 and National Women’s Health & Fitness Day on September 30. Personal health and fitness can be difficult to focus on at any time. During the challenging times we face now, taking care of your mind and body is essential. Invest in taking good care of yourself – the rewards may surprise you.
Get active and creative. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination each week. Before starting any new fitness routine, contact your physician or health care provider and get their advisement. Listen to your body and go at your own pace. Think about your long-term fitness goals and be creative! Play some music and dance around the house. If you are able, go outside and take a walk in this new fall season.
Manage stress. We cannot avoid stress, but we can develop personal strategies to aid in managing it. Can you turn off the television, silence your cell phone, shut down your computer and practice being still for a few minutes a day? Try closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Do you need help? Reach out to friends and family or call your doctor and ask where you can get support.
Prioritize your health. When caring for others– children, parents, spouses, partners and loved ones with chronic health issues or disabilities – and managing other responsibilities it is easy to put your own health on hold and forget to take care of your basic needs. Are you drinking enough water and getting enough proper nutrients? Are you getting quality sleep?
Be heart healthy. Exercise, eating healthy foods, being smoke-free and limiting alcohol use are all recommended to lower your chance for heart disease. The symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain or discomfort, feeling weak, light-headed or faint, pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back or shoulders, or shortness of breath. Women may experience these, as well as more flu-like symptoms, like nausea, fatigue and lightheadedness, during a heart attack and ignore the symptoms. Don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.
Take the time to take care of your heart, mind and body. UR Medicine’s Center for Community Health & Prevention’s clinical team of registered dietitians, exercise specialists, lifestyle counselors, nicotine cessation specialists and a nurse practitioner and physician can help you with your health goals. Call (585) 602-0720 for more information. You are worth it.
Anne Sammler, B.S.Ed., M.A., NCTTP, is lifestyle counselor and nicotine cessation specialist at the Center for Community Health & Prevention.
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