by Catherine Brzozowski

Your health is a lifelong journey, but some fundamentals are the same no matter your age! Eat healthy, be active, take care of your mental health, get regular wellness checkups, and avoid taking unnecessary risks, like texting and driving. When you compare the healthcare needs of men versus women, however, a gap becomes apparent. The health disparity between men and women goes from cradle to grave. Women face health concerns and challenges throughout life that require special attention and care. Age fabulously by incorporating good habits into your everyday routine.

A nutritious diet filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to fuel a healthy and active lifestyle. Discover the newness of produce during each season and try filling up on veggies first during each meal so you can stay full and satisfied while active.

Regular exercise is one the greatest keys to physical and mental well being. Living a more active, mindful lifestyle decreases your risk for common cancers and heart disease and allows you to maintain your independence as you age. Use technology to access a live class with your favorite trainer from NYC just by using an app on your phone. Tap into technology for inspiration, education, and even set reminders to get moving!

Movement creates endorphins that when released in your body interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, boosting your brain allowing it to have a positive feeling in the body. Exercise improves your mood, makes you sleep better, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Find a workout you enjoy consistently and try to find simple ways to move, even if you only have a few minutes.

There’s nothing more powerful than a peaceful mind. Everyday stress adds up and can be a real energy zapper. It also affects heart health, weight and can increase risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other chronic conditions. Find time each day to sit in stillness in meditation to help relax and reduce stress. At the end of the day, it all starts with the state of mind. Modern meditation applications used on your phone allow you to remain mindful and present while on the go; just set a daily alert and plan to give yourself the time to hit pause. Think of it as your daily meeting with yourself.

Did you know a well-woman visit with your doctor is one of the most important ways to stay healthy? Women – from teens to seniors – need an annual visit with their women’s health provider. During a well-woman visit, your doctor will perform a full checkup. It’s recommended to have your first wellness visit around age 13 to 15. You might want to talk to your doctor or nurse about the hormonal process of your menstrual cycle and if you’re under 18, you may get some shots, like the HPV vaccine. If you’re sexually active, you may talk about birth control or STD testing. Around age 21, regular pelvic exams, pap tests, and breast exams may begin. As you get older, or as your health changes, wellness visits will include other tests and referral for screenings like mammograms. During well-woman visits, be sure to ask the healthcare provider what health screenings are right for you. Tests like mammograms, bone density screenings and colonoscopies can help women age well.

Women face special health concerns and challenges throughout life. From transitions that begin during adolescence, continue through mid-life, and reach beyond menopause, the gynecology team at Chestnut Hill Hospital is here for you and will work with you to assess your individual needs. Together, we’ll take steps to enhance your quality of life at every stage. Appointments are available for new and returning patients. Call today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations nearest you. Blue Bell: 215-646-2213; or Chestnut Hill: 215-248-3100. Learn more here.

Catherine M. Brzozowski is Marketing and Public Relations Director for Chestnut Hill Hospital.