This one's for the girls

  • Published
  • By Airman Cortney Hansen
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
April is Women's Health Care month - a time for women of all ages to take simple steps to a longer, healthier and happier life.

"Women are the caregivers of the family," said Lt. Col. Carol Nelson, the 341st Medical Operations Squadron women's health care practitioner. "They'll make sure their kids are healthy, they'll make sure their husband is healthy - they'll make sure everyone in the family is healthy and forget about themselves."

Women who neglect proper health are at risk for several problems as they age. One example is osteoporosis - it's prominent in women and develops faster in those who don't take care of their bones.

"You want to start protecting your bones in your teens so that as you age, your risk for osteoporosis isn't higher," Colonel Nelson said. "Prevention is the key."

There are several ways for women to promote their health, both on their own, and with help from a professional. One of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle is exercise, along with proper nutrition.

One of the hardest parts of exercise is staying motivated. Jacqueline Maillet, a health promotion dietician at the HAWC, recommended having a workout partner and setting goals, like looking good for bikini season or training for a marathon, to help stay motivated.

"Proper nutrition can help your physical performance," said Ms. Maillet. "Try to balance calories out in order to maintain a healthy weight. Food journaling is a very good tool for accountability reasons, as well as just staying on task and preventing over-eating."

Nutrition and exercise are important, and must be maintained on a personal level. Staying current on screenings and checkups with your doctor should be high on a women's priority list, as well.

Checkups should be somewhat regular for all women, but different screenings vary with age.

"What you focus on health wise changes as you go through life," Colonel Nelson said. "You want to prepare for babies in your early years, and you want to prepare for aging problems like your bone health and breast health as you get older."

Proper physical care paired with a positive outlook on life can help women improve their overall health.

"Studies show that people who are happy have better health than people who are unhappy, so having fun is a part of maintaining your health, too," Colonel Nelson said.