TV shows and movies often feature “superwomen” who can cope with all of life’s challenges without problems. Work pressures and family responsibilities are no obstacles for characters like Lois Lane, Murphy Brown, Carol Brady and Clair Huxtable.
Viewers can’t help but be impressed with these strong female opportunities. However, we rarely see these “super women” helping themselves.
May is Women’s Health Month, an annual reminder for women, even “super women,” to prioritize their own health and well-being.
Finding some “time for me” can be difficult, but it’s essential. Below are four ways in which women can balance their health and well-being with their professional, family, and other life responsibilities.
Commit to an exercise routine
Any exercise routine, whether informal or under the supervision of a medical professional, should include three components:
Strength training: Endurance training using weights, bands or heavy objects to improve muscle function.
Endurance training: Long-term aerobic exercises that strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Flexibility: Stretches to improve range of motion and strengthen muscles and joints.
The vision of the physiotherapy profession is to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience. This places physical therapists at the epicenter of advising people on how best to start and maintain healthy exercise habits. This is especially true for people who have underlined medical conditions or a history of injury.
Follow a nutritious diet
Food is the fuel that fuels our body, so top quality fuel results in top quality health. Like athletes hyper-focused on their diet, women need to prioritize nutrition to maximize their performance as well.
MyPlate, formerly known as the USDA food guide pyramid, contains five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Doctors recommend them as the core of any diet. Some people cannot tolerate dairy, gluten or other foods, but luckily there are several alternatives available.
Consulting a licensed dietary nutritionist, especially as we age, will help address issues related to food, such as meal planning, weight control, healthy cooking, food allergies, consulting for the diabetes, sports nutrition and digestive problems.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
The American Heart Association lists four simple areas of focus to improve your lifestyle: mental health and wellness, sleep, stress control, and smoking cessation.
Women are always on the move. Still, it’s important to take breaks from time to time. A few minutes of deep breathing increase oxygen levels in the blood, which increases energy levels, boosts immunity, and lowers blood pressure. Oxygen has also been shown to improve stress management, reduce anxiety and clear the mind.
Schedule doctor’s appointments
Insurance companies usually cover the cost of annual visits to primary care physicians and dentists. In fact, they encourage these visits because early detection and prevention are key to good health.
All doctors are dedicated to improving our health and well-being. Which ones should you visit regularly? These five types of doctors should be part of the health routine of all women:
Primary care physician: general health, illness and injury
OB-GYN: reproductive health, menopause and women’s health
Radiologist: Annual mammograms for women 45 and older if they have a family history of breast cancer
Dermatologist: skin care
Optometrist or ophthalmologist: eye care and eye diseases
Physiotherapists are not always among the suggested visits, but the role of a physiotherapist has evolved over the last decade. The American Physiotherapy Association notes that PTs examine patients and develop treatment plans to improve their ability to move, reduce or control pain, restore function, and prevent disability.
Physiotherapists are known primarily to help patients recover from injuries. They also treat patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, overuse injuries and muscle weakness.
Women’s bodies change after childbirth. Physiotherapists address the musculoskeletal components of pregnancy and postpartum problems, including incontinence, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, and prenatal or muscular joint dysfunction.
“Super women” can manage everything that is thrown their way, but they must make it a priority to strike the right balance between careers, families, life, and personal health.
Melinda Sganga is a physiotherapist and clinical director at the Gainesville location of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers. FYZICAL has more than 400 locations in 45 states. For more information, visit fyzical.com.