Halphin says women tend to put everyone and everything first, even before their own health. "Women lose muscle tone and get weaker as they age," Halphin said. "My message for women is to get active and stay healthy for your spouse, kids, family and friends."
Using her own sister as an example, Halphin described a woman who is busy with kids, work, family - everything but her own health, said Halphin. "My sister is thin, she doesn't eat well, and she doesn't exercise," Halphin said. "Her muscle tone is minimal, and she's not physically strong. She also has high cholesterol."
Halphin said she made it her goal to encourage her sister to become physically active and fit. "She began to walk with weights several times a week and her cholesterol has lowered," said Halphin.
Halphin also promoted National Women's Health Week and says this year's theme of "It's your time" empowers women to make their health a top priority. "It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases," Halphin said. "Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings, get active, eat healthy and pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress."
May 14 was National Check-Up Day, and with that, Halphin urged Rotarians to encourage all the women in their lives to schedule an appointment with their internist, family care physician, gynecologist, psychiatrist - any doctor will do, Halphin, just as long as women are scheduling a check-up to be pro-active in warding off diseases or illnesses.
In addition, Halphin said Curves in Zachary will feature a National Curves Day on May 17 and celebrate members, non-members and "all the women of Zachary who have taken responsibility for their health...this is a time for Curves to honor all citizens and organizations whose fundraising and awareness efforts have improved the lives of the women in our community," said Curves owner, Brenda Wiltz, in a news release.
Curves of Zachary will give a free 30-day membership to any non-member who visits the club during regular operating hours throughout National Women's Health Week, May 13-19. (For more information visit www.curves.com.)
"We all have a responsibility to encourage the women in our lives to improve their health by joining a gym, walking, running, canoeing, cycling, dancing and any sport which gets them active," Halphin said. "There are walking tracks behind Lane and in our local parks if the gym is not your thing. Get the entire family involved in healthy living."
Halphin said by eating three vegetables and two fruits daily, a woman's risk of disease, fractures and illnesses decreases significantly.
In addition, Halphin said that mental health plays a huge role in the overall fitness of a woman.
Adequate sleep, diet and exercise and avoiding risks such as smoking, not wearing a seat belt, helmet or life vest when driving, cycling or boating, respectively, are all factors which make a lifestyle healthy. "These choices teach our kids to be healthy and promotes healthier living," said Halphin.
The fitness expert said 85 percent of women in Louisiana get annual check-ups as opposed to 94.5 percent of women in Massachusetts. "We can do better," she said. "It's my hope that everyone makes it a priority to tell the women in their lives - or if you are a woman - go get a check-up, eat better and live a healthier lifestyle."
For more information on women's health, visit www.womenshealth.org.