How Women of Color Can Maintain Their Health – Top Tips With The DivaGals!By The DivaGals | September 30, 2021 | Fitness
Here at DivaGalsDaily, we strive to help you be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself. But there are so many health disparities between races, it can be detrimental to people of color. The majority of essential workers during the pandemic are comprised of racial minorities who selflessly put their health at risk on a daily basis. Many of these workers also live in areas that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Other factors that negatively affect health equity in the country can include discrimination and limited access to healthcare, along with education and wealth gaps.
The worst part? Women are the ones most affected by these shortcomings in healthcare. A study published in the Obstet Gynecol journal notes that racial bias greatly affects women’s reproductive healthcare. On top of that, women of color can greatly experience a lack of access to contraceptives and vaccines, as well as cervical and breast cancer screening services. This puts our health at even greater risk.
While there are systemic adjustments that need to be made, we can take action to take care of our health ourselves. Here are some things we can do to maintain our health.
Know What Illnesses You Are Susceptible To
You can’t protect yourself from something you don’t even know you are in danger of. This is why it is important to know what diseases you may be at risk for based on your racial background. Black women are more likely to experience heart diseases and strokes, as reported by award-winning journalist Maria Aspan. Moreover, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes are conditions that often affect black women. Wellness site SymptomFind notes that prediabetes affects over 80 million Americans, with higher incidences in black communities. It’s especially alarming as the condition can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes and other complications. For many women of color, the key to achieving optimal health is to keep blood glucose levels within the target range.
This can be targeted by meal planning and proper diets, like eating less sugary foods to counter diabetes or eating leafy vegetables and less red and processed meat to lessen the risk of heart diseases. It is important to know what illness you might experience to know what specific lifestyle changes you can make to remain as healthy as possible.
MedlinePlus highlights how exercise can be extremely beneficial. It can help with reducing the risk for heart problems which is common among African Americans. It can also lessen the risk of other cardiovascular diseases like high cholesterol and blood pressure. Beyond physical health, mental health is improved by exercise, something that should be considered as part of your overall well-being.
You may find exercising difficult to do at first, but there are ways to simplify activities while still doing them correctly. And it gets easier, we promise! At home, you can do kettlebell workouts, walkouts, and tricep extensions, just to name a few. These types of exercises can help to build muscle, strengthen bones and improve overall health. Even simple activities like walking your dog, tending to your garden and playing with your children can be great sources of cardiovascular exercise. If you’d like to take your workouts to the next level, explore online classes with fitness expert Robert Brace, who has launched a fitness challenge with Wyclef John. Exercise can help women of color keep lots of chronic health conditions at bay, particularly as we can be more susceptible to them compared to other demographics.
Manage Your Stress
Stress can greatly affect one’s overall health so it is important to manage it when you can. And unfortunately, racial minorities are some of the people who are most susceptible to social and biological stress. This can be influenced by economic disadvantages and different forms of discrimination — both racial and gender-based. This is why women of color need to find ways to cope with the increased amount of stress.
The American Heart Association lists different ways you can manage your stress levels. One way is to have calming techniques like meditation and listening to relaxing music. Another is to engage in activities that make you happy. This can range from creating art to playing your favorite sport. There is no one way to manage your stress, but explore different methods until you find one that works for you so you can reduce your risk of disease and continue to be in optimal shape.
As with many other aspects, race can become a risk factor when it comes to health. As women of color, we need to take action to prevent disease and find ways to reduce stress. Taking care of yourself should always be a Divalicious priority.