The Institute for Women's Health

These three simple resolutions can kick off your healthiest year yet!

The new year brings a new opportunity to take charge of your health and live a better life. These three simple resolutions are a great way to start taking better care of yourself in 2016 without having to make major life changes. Remember, investing in your health now will result in many good years to come!

Resolution #1: Be More Active

Physical activity is very important to your overall health and emotional well being. Setting aside just 15-20 minutes to exercise each day lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer and keeps your muscles, bones and joints healthy. But even better, exercise helps you mentally – lowering symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and menopause.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 60 percent of women don’t get the amount of physical activity they need. The multiple demands of work and family often leave little time for exercise. The key to keeping up with this resolution is finding creative ways to add some exercise to your daily life. For example, you can use 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk up and down the stairs at work or go out for a walk with your kids after you pick them up from school. Remember: those 15 minutes today can stave off years of health problems in the future.

Resolution #2: Eat Better

Many of us want to start off the new year with a new diet. But be careful which one you choose – popular diets that restrict certain foods or drastically reduce caloric consumption often fail within a few weeks. So how can you successfully eat healthier? By simply making a few small changes such as these:

• Eat four – five small, healthy meals a day instead of three large meals.

• Start your day with a complete breakfast that will keep you full for hours. Try steel-cut oatmeal with fruit, whole-grain toast with peanut butter and a green juice, or scrambled eggs with veggies.

• Incorporate vegetables or greens into every meal – keep your plate colorful!

• Treat yourself to occasional unhealthy foods, like tacos or pizza, but make sure you keep the portions small.

Resolution #3: Be Proactive About Your Health

Many diseases that affect women can be successfully treated if detected early. It’s very important that you develop good communication with your OB/GYN so he or she can have a complete picture of your health history and address any concerns you may have.

Some important exams recommended for women include:
• Breast Cancer Screenings – All well women exams include a breast exam (which is different from a mammogram) to screen for breast cancer. Depending on your age, you might need to have a mammogram every year or every two years. You can read about the new mammogram guidelines here.

• Cervical Cancer Screening – The American Cancer Society recommends that women between 21-29 receive a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer every three years and that women between 30-65 receive a Pap test and an HPV Test once very five years.

• Bone Mineral Density Test – Women over 65 should have this osteoporosis screening at least once. It is also recommended that women begin discussing this test with their OB/GYN once they turn 50. Those who are at a higher risk should be screened earlier.

• Well Woman Exam – We recommend that women obtain a well woman exam at least once a year. This allows your OB/GYN to get a clear picture of your health to catch any problems early.

Now is the perfect time to get 2016 off to a healthy start. Our practice offers nine different locations and more than 30 doctors to choose from to make it convenient for you. You can even schedule an appointment online.

Here’s to making 2016 your healthiest, happiest year yet!