‘I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’ – this is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (8th March). UN Women – the group that fights for equality for women across the world, came up with this unique theme as a call to action for women – cutting across generations – to unite and be aware of their rights. This will, in turn, help them attain their goals in life.
All women should be empowered to achieve their dreams, irrespective of age, colour, class or socio/economic background. But, to attain her goals, a woman has to look after her health first, isn’t it? Only with a healthy body and mind can she achieve success!
So, how can a woman take better care of her health? Here’s how –
- Pay attention to the diet
Women tend to the dietary needs of their loved ones. But often enough deprive themselves of the nutrition that their bodies need. The fact is women are prone to certain illnesses such as anaemia, osteoporosis, anorexia or obesity- all of which result from unhealthy eating habits.
Focussing on natural foods such as fruits and vegetables helps. They will give you most of the nutrients your body needs to function properly such as minerals, vitamins, folic acid, protein and dietary fibre etc. A fruit and vegetable-strong diet will prevent and cure anaemia. Turn to tofu, soy products and dairy for healthy bones and teeth.
Make sure your diet also includes lean meat, fish (if you are non-vegetarian) because they are excellent sources of protein (they help repair your body). What about vegetarians? If you are one, soy products and flax seeds can be the alternate source of proteins.
- Keep stress at bay
As a woman, you have to wear many caps – daughter, mother, wife or sister and you have to cater to the demands of the entire family. And no wonder stress levels tend to be high among women. It can cause hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, insomnia etc.
That is why you should spend some time on yourself. Engage in activities that relax you such as reading, gardening, baking, playing a musical instrument etc. Breathing exercises and yoga too will help eliminate stress from your lives.
- Exercise more
Statistics show that more women are obese than men. And obesity is a killer that can usher in diseases as deadly as heart ailments, liver disorders, cancer and diabetes. And the best way to get the better of obesity is by exercising. Simply half an hour of workout, five times a week can keep your body in prime shape and free from illnesses. Pick any exercise regime of your choice- it can be cardio, free-hand exercises, swimming or a session at the gym.
- Screening the women-specific diseases
Breast, ovarian and cervical cancers can be lethal. How can you reduce your chances of contracting them? By being aware of them! Opt for a mammogram once every year if you are in your 40s. Pap smear and transvaginal ultrasound are tests that can detect cervical and ovarian cancers. Your healthcare provider will guide you on when and where to get tested.
Keep an eye out on any unusual feeling or symptom. Seek help without delay.
- Good sleep is a must
Women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than men are. According to psychologists, one of the simplest ways to bring your depression under control is by sleeping. Sleep can enhance your sense of wellbeing and help ease depression, stress and all other mood disorders.
A healthy adult should sleep 7-9 hours a day. Sleep is a wonderful medicine that will do more than just elevate your mood. It will also heal your mind and body. When you sleep, your body repairs itself. A night of undisturbed sleep can reduce your blood sugar and minimize your risk of contracting diabetes and heart diseases.
A few healthy things you can do-
- Walk at least 6000 steps every day because according to studies that reduce your risk of getting heart attack and dementia by 20%.
- Consume as little sugar and salt as possible as they give you hypertension, diabetes and obesity.
- Drink at least 3 litres of water every day.
A woman looks after everyone’s health. But does she lavish love onto herself? She sacrifices so much for the people she loves. But in the process, her health takes a beating.
This Women’s Day, we should all make a promise to ensure that the women in our lives are healthy and fit!