Today is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. It is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages and falls on the last Wednesday of each September. This unique national program — with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S. — focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.
More than 500 groups across the country will host women’s health and fitness events at senior centers, hospitals, health clubs, park and recreation districts, local health and service organizations, schools, retirement communities, houses of worship, and other community locations. An estimated 50,000 to 75,000 women of all ages are expected to participate in these local activities.
The goal of this event is to encourage women to take control of their health: to learn the facts they need to make smart health choices, and to make time for regular physical activity. If you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, now is the time to do something about it. Obesity has been linked with several health risks for women.
- Stroke – Being overweight has been found to be associated with a higher stroke risk in women. More specifically, carrying around excess weight increases the risk of experiencing the most common type of stroke. A recent study looked at 1.3 million British women and found that overweight and obese women were more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke affecting 87 percent of stroke patients.
- Ovarian Cancer – Various studies have looked at the relationship of obesity and ovarian cancer. Overall, it seems that obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. However, a new study has found that regular exercise may be able to better prevent ovarian cancer.
- Fibromyalgia – Women who are overweight – especially those who do not exercise at all – are at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia. Research was published in the journal, Arthritis Care & Research. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by the illness marked by widespread pain and tender points along the body, extreme fatigue, sleep problems, depression and even problems with cognition.
Now is the time to get in shape and reduce your risk of these health conditions. Use today as your starting point, but remember to start small. Go for a walk before work, during your lunch break or after dinner. Find a friend to join you. You owe it to yourself and your family!