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May 12-18 is National Women's Health Week

May 12-18 is National Women's Health Week

Get active. Eat healthy. Prioritize mental health. The most important message of National Women’s Health Week? Schedule a preventive well-woman exam with your health care provider.

Created by the federal government’s Office on Women’s Health, National Women’s Health Week is celebrated each year, beginning on Mother’s Day, to encourage women to make their health a priority. The theme for 2024, which takes place this year from May 12 to 18, is “Women’s Health, Whole Health: Prevention, Care and Well-Being.”

Steps you can take for better health

There’s a lot that you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life – from practicing healthy habits to making and keeping all health care appointments:

  • Get regular checkups, including a yearly well-woman exam.
  • Engage in regular exercise.
  • Lose weight.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Prioritize your mental health.

Tips to help sustain healthy behaviors

Whether you want to become more physically active, lose weight or start another new healthy activity, these tips — based on behavior change research — may be able to help you create and maintain successful new habits:

  • Practice envisioning the future. As you make decisions in everyday life, be aware of how your behavior may be driven by wanting what feels good now versus what your future self will wish you had valued.
  • Manage stress. Stress can affect your ability to adopt healthy behaviors. If you feel stressed or overwhelmed, you may be less likely to exercise, which in turn can increase your stress levels the next day — creating an unhelpful cycle. Healthy activity and diet can reduce stress, both in the short and long term, so paying attention to how good you feel right after exercise may also help you maintain healthy behaviors. Learn how stress can take a toll on your body.
  • Beware of avoidance. If you have a chronic condition, you may become hyper-aware of your body and start worrying that every sensation in your chest or change in your breathing rate signals catastrophe. Those anxieties about bodily sensations can become problematic not because they signal a cardiovascular event, but because they may become an excuse to avoid exercise or to eat comfort food. If you are medically cleared to exercise, it’s important to recognize that the bodily sensations associated with being active may be amplified by fear, but most do not indicate any real health problem.