News You Can Use: 5 Easy Steps to a Healthier You!

Nyjah Wyche, YW Boston Health and Wellness Outreach Coordinator

While YWCA Boston works to improve women’s health day in and day out throughout the year,we acknowledge national Women’s Health Week this week, and remind women to make their health a priority!

Women are often the caregivers for their spouses, children, and parents and forget to focus on their own health. Research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves. Educate your wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, and girlfriends about the steps they can take to improve their health and prevent disease.

By taking even the simplest steps to improve your health, the results can be significant and everyone can benefit. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Get Moving!
Physical activity can lower your risk for countless diseases including heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and depression. You don’t have to join a gym in order to boost your physical activity. You can start with making simple changes like parking farther away from work or the grocery store than usual. Or, if you ride the train or bus getting off a few stops early. Walking up stairs burns almost 5 times more calories than taking the elevator! Local libraries often have fitness videos in stock that you can borrow to begin working out at home if possible. Dancing is another fun and effective form of exercise, so grab a friend and get moving!

2. Make Healthy Food Choices Everyday!
Healthy eating (along with regular exercise) is key to maintaining a healthy body weight and preventing serious health problems. Healthy eating is a life-time habit that means making food choices you enjoy while improving your health. One way to begin is by setting easy goals such as eating one more serving of vegetables per day, replacing a cookie with a piece of fruit once per week, or substituting whole grain bread for white bread. To learn more, register for a YWCA Boston health workshop here.

For more information on Heart Healthy eating click here.

3. “Re-Think Your Drink”!
Water is essential to making sure our bodies and minds function well. Replace sweetened beverages and more glasses of water daily. Doctors recommend that women consume at least 9 cups of water per day.

Click here for tips on how you can begin cutting calories and improving your hydration level.

4. Stay on Top of your Health Exams and Screenings!

An essential part of practicing self-care is getting regular screenings from a health care provider. Knowing which exams are recommended for your age and how often you should get them is the first step in making sure you are clear of diseases that may not show visible or early signs. Women over 40 should get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam from a health care professional every year, and should perform a self-breast exam every month. To learn more about breast cancer screenings, contact us at [insert link] or join us for a workshop on breast health.

Use this interactive guide to find out which tests are right for you!

5. Help Others
There is evidence that people who volunteer are generally happier and healthier. YWCA Boston has some immediate opportunities for you to consider:

Join YWCA Boston as we cheer on walkers in the Avon walk this Sunday, May 15th, 2010. Learn more here.

And, you can help other women to be proactive about their health as a YWCA Boston volunteer.

Every small step you make to improve your health helps. For more information or to get involved, contact