The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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Health & Fitness

October 5, 2012

Speaking of Health: Women: Become a healthier you

— Busy lives get in the way of many things, and personal health is no exception. Driving kids to soccer practice, staying late at work or grabbing a bite to eat on the road have become commonplace for many women. This juggling act can decrease the time needed to take care of your own health. But with a little more time focused on positive lifestyle changes, you can create a healthier, happier you.

1. Eating right is key. Your meal choices have a major effect on your weight and overall well-being. Skip foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium and sugar. These foods slow you down, pack on extra pounds and can lead to serious health issues.

Instead, include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein into your daily fare. A proper diet leaves you feeling energized and focused. Additionally, nutritious meals help you lose weight, prevent certain diseases and lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

2. It’s important to get moving. Moderate exercise is an ideal way to stay healthy. Health experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise each day. This aids in maintaining a healthy weight, as well as protecting against many leading health problems, such as heart disease, obesity and stroke. The benefits of exercise are not only physical; exercise helps reduce stress and improve mood as well.

3. Don’t smoke. Smoking leads to heart disease, cancer and stroke, all of which are major causes of death in women. In fact, lung cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s important to avoid smoking and, if you do smoke, speak with your health care provider about ways to quit. There are also free resources available such as smokefree.gov and 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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