Putting Yourself First is Vital
Women who fret about their children's doctor appointments and their husband's aches and pains often put their own health last.

Not a good idea.

Even if you have trouble taking time for yourself, remember the safety instructions you get when you board a plane: Put your oxygen mask on first in case of emergency. Then put the mask on children and others who need your help.

One in three women will die from some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. One in 35 will die from breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

One in 72 will die of ovarian cancer, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

While you can't prevent these tragedies, you can reduce your risk. We gathered tips from medical experts on easy things a woman can do, starting today, to stay healthy and strong.


Your body is only as healthy as what you put in it. Here's how to move quickly to a better path.

Cut it out: Just say no to smoking. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. And throw out the fad diets, as many leave out important nutrients.

Amp it up:

Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, beans and nuts and seeds can help with weight control (which improves your overall health). These foods also help give you the fiber you need (21 grams daily if you are over 50 and 25 grams if you are under 50). Women are prone to irritable bowel syndrome because they tend to get less fiber as a result of eating less food than men do.

Vitamin reminder: Menstruating women should eat iron-rich foods or take an iron supplement to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption. Other vital nutrients are calcium, to prevent osteoporosis, and vitamin D, to help with calcium absorption.


The best way to release those endorphins that will improve your mood and give you energy is to accumulate 150 minutes of aerobic exercise throughout the course of the week. Sound daunting? Not if you break it down into 15 sessions of 10 minutes each, or five 30-minute sessions.

Clock yourself daily and don't forget to go for "moderate intensity" - that's when you can carry on a conversation while being a little out of breath and having a slight sweat.

Easy ways to fit it in: Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.

Look for the farthest spot rather than the closest when you park and walk to your destination.

Begin and end your day with a walk around your block. Do some exercises while you watch television. Give the kids a thrill (and a laugh) and play Dance Dance Revolution or Wii Fit with them.

And don't forget muscle-strengthening exercises to fight osteoporosis. Ten to 15 minutes twice a week will do it. Weight-bearing exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups and weights.