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Taking steps to be the healthiest you can be

Taking steps to be the healthiest you can be

Sep. 25, 2019

By Kenzie Bostick

When people think of September, they often think of the return of football season, autumn, Labor Day and other fun activities that usher in the end of summer and the beginning of holiday indulgence.

With all this excitement, it can seem difficult to find time to take care of yourself and your health. That’s what National Women’s Health & Fitness Day is for—to remind women to take the time to invest in their health.

While health is important year-round, today is dedicated to promoting health care resources available to women and the importance of maintaining health. The event is organized by the Health Information Resource Center and is always on the last Wednesday of September.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults ages 18-64 exercise for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week, or 75 minutes of more intense exercise. Exercise comes in many forms, ranging from walking and running to hiking, swimming and bike riding.

In Monongalia County, there are a variety of options available to those who wish to take control of their health. When the weather is decent—or, for more hard-core exercisers, even if it’s not—the rail-trail offers the opportunity for walking, jogging, running, bicycling and more. There are also parks and great places to hike, including Core Arboretum and Coopers Rock State Forest.

There are also plenty of places in Morgantown to take fitness classes, including yoga, cycling and CrossFit.

For those with busy schedules that do not allow trips to a traditional gym, consider investing in home gym equipment, searching for workout videos on YouTube and/or downloading fitness apps straight to your phone.

A healthy lifestyle consists of more than getting up and moving; diet is a large contributor to one’s health. As a college town, Morgantown is full of restaurants serving burgers and pizza. But there are also restaurants catering to those who are more conscious of their diets. Plus, at least for the next few weeks, fresh produce can be found at Morgantown Farmers Market on Saturdays from May to early November. During winter, the market is held on select alternating Saturdays.

Of course, taking care of your health also means getting checkups and taking preventative measures. At Monongalia County Health Department Clinical Services, patients can receive free or low-cost birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, testing for hepatitis and STDs, HPV and hepatitis vaccines, pap smears, mammogram referrals, testing for STDs and more.

For those who are pregnant or have children, MCHD provides breastfeeding counseling, education, and nutrition assistance, as well as prenatal vitamins. MCHD Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides vouchers for healthy foods to families who qualify under generous income guidelines. The breastfeeding counseling is free and open to the public, however.

Through our Environmental Health program, MCHD even offers radon testing. This invisible gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. While nationally, the incidence of high levels of radon in a home are about 1 in 15, it’s about 1 in 5 in Monongalia County. If your home tests for high levels, there are steps you can take to fix the problem.

Of course, you don’t have to adapt all these measures all at once. But it’s good to start exploring ways to be healthier and, if necessary, take baby steps toward improvement.
For an appointment at MCHD Clinical Services, call 304-598-5119. For a radon test, call MCHD Environmental Health at 304-598-5131.

Kenzie Bostick is a public information intern at Monongalia County Health Dept.

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