With so many competing priorities, it's easy for women to put their health on the back burner. They may not have time to get to the gym, or they may worry about the cost of health care. That's why during National Women's Health Week, the Office on Women's Health wants women to know that even simple steps can make a huge difference. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health care is more accessible and affordable than ever before. Joining us this year as National Women's Health Week ambassadors are Annie, Stephanie, and Windsor. Together, they founded Her Campus, an online community for college women, with information on love, life, careers, and — of course — health. Read their interview to learn why they feel it's important to speak up about women's health. Plus, get their tips for leading healthy lives.
Stephanie, Annie, and Windsor are proud to be ambassadors for National Women's Health Week. They met as undergraduates while running their university's lifestyle and fashion magazine. In 2009, they launched Her Campus, an online community for college women. Today, Her Campus has over 3.5 million monthly visitors and covers topics important to young women, such as health, careers, love, and life.
Q: Tell us why you wanted to be ambassadors for National Women's Health Week.
A: (All) Women's health is something that is central to our mission at Her Campus: serving college women. It's also something that is important to each of us individually as 20-something women. We are proud to use our site and platforms to promote something we believe in.
Q: Why do you think it's important for women to prioritize their health?
A: (Annie) Health is a big part of what makes life enjoyable, and being healthy is what allows you to succeed and get the most out of life.
Q: Why is it important to you to share information about building healthy habits with young women?
A: (Windsor) In our roles at Her Campus, we are in the unique position to be able to talk to women when they are living on their own and taking care of themselves for the first time. It's important that they develop healthy habits while they're young so that these habits can stick with them for the rest of their lives.
Q: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans must cover a woman's annual well-woman visit at no cost to her. Why is an annual well-woman visit important to a woman's overall health?
A: (Stephanie) The well-woman visit allows women to be proactive about their health, rather than waiting until something is wrong. It's important to focus on prevention when it comes your health, and having annual checkups promotes this.
Q: Physical activity can help fight heart disease, improve a woman's mood, maintain a healthy weight, and more. With your busy schedule, how do you make time for exercise?
A: (Annie) I'll often bring my gym clothes and shoes to work and go for a run right around the office. I either get to work early in the morning or run at the end of the day before I go home. Going for a 3-mile run doesn't take much time, but it clears my head and allows me to stay fit.
Q: Eating healthy is also important for good health. What advice would you give to women looking to eat better?
A: (Windsor) Start small. Don't try to make drastic changes that you won't be able to stick to. Take small steps, and do everything in moderation.
Q: It's not always easy to stay calm and relaxed. What are your favorite ways to de-stress and take time for yourself?
A: (Stephanie) I enjoy working out, especially running. I have found that keeping a consistent sleep schedule and working out in the mornings helps me stay calm and focused and feel well all day. I also like to say no to social plans every so often and just take a night to stay in and binge-watch TV!
Q: Avoiding unhealthy behaviors like texting while driving and smoking can add years to your life. What other unhealthy behaviors do you think are important to avoid?
A: (Annie) Women should avoid excessive drinking and drug use and be sure to get enough sleep.
Q: This National Women's Health Week, are you pledging to be a well woman? What does that mean to you?
A: (Windsor) This year I am pledging to be a well woman. This means making sure healthy behaviors are a top priority for me, such as eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep, which can be challenging while running a start-up!
Q: What advice would you give to women who want to take steps for better health?
A: (Stephanie) Set specific goals and map out plans for how you will get there. For example, pick a specific workout training plan to give yourself direction at the gym, or identify a specific diet change to make rather than just trying to "eat healthy."
Q: What's the best piece of advice you can give to college women?
A: (All) Pursue what you're passionate about. Do what you love! Success will follow.
Visit the National Women's Health Week website to learn more about the observance and how you can participate.