Tips for women to achieve healthy body and mind

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Women, in general, tend to keep our plates pretty full with the normal everyday tasks — whether it’s work, taking care of family and housework. We also tend to pile on top yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries. It’s no surprise that women tend to overload themselves with worry and the feeling of trying to get it all done.

I’m often asked what advice I would give women who are juggling so many things on a daily basis — how to manage and create some type of balance. I can empathize … I feel the pressures every day as a physician, a wife and a mother of three amazing children.

It’s important to manage all these items that fill our plates on a daily basis, otherwise it can potentially lead to medical and physiological problems such as stress, mental fatigue, unhappiness and even anger.

So, how can we minimize the impact of stress on our body and live a healthier and happier lifestyle? I believe it takes a proper balance of several different factors listed below, which can help you achieve a healthy body and mind.


Moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity three to five times per week: It could be the treadmill, brisk walk at the local park or anything that gets your heart rate up.

Weight training or resistance exercises to maintain strength.

Flexibility activities to maintain range of motion: As we get older we end up in front of the computer during the day and in front of the TV in the evening. We drive to the grocery store, leaving us with very limited time to enhance our flexibility and maintain our range of motion.

Balance training to improve stability and prevent falls: As many as 28 to 45 percent of elderly people fall each year due to a decline in balance as we age.


Who doesn’t like a glass of red wine in the evening with dinner? The key is moderation.


Stop smoking: Cigarette smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable diseases and deaths worldwide. It’s time to quit if you are smoking. Consider pharmacotherapy like nicotine replacement and other drugs available to use for this purpose. Wilson Medical Center offers a tobacco cessation program if you’re interested in kicking the habit. You can call 252-399-8561 to sign up.


Blood pressure: annual check

Hearing and vision: annual assessment

Lipid panel: screening for cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Osteoporosis screening: with DEXA scan for women at age 65

Diabetes screening: for adults up to age 70 who are overweight and have hypertension or hyperlipidemia

Breast cancer: beginning at age 45, once a year from age 45-54. At age 55 and above every two years. Consider stopping at age 74.

Colorectal cancer: begin screening average-risk patients at age 50

Lung cancer: age 55 to 80 years, a history of smoking at least 30 pack-years and, if a former smoker, having quit within the previous 15 years

Cervical cancer: bgin screening women ages 21-29 with Pap smear every three years; age 30 years and above should receive a

Pap smear every three years or co-testing (Pap test and HPV testing) every five years.

Immunizations: tetanus, influenza, pneumonia, herpes zoster (talk to your doctor about when and how often you should receive these).

It’s important to have a primary care physician to help you prevent and/or manage certain conditions. If you need a doctor, call Wilson Medical Center’s Physician Referral Line at 800-424-DOCS (3627) and they can connect you with one today.

Dr. Sopna Jacob is a board certified internal medicine physician. She practices at Wilson Primary Care located at 1700 Tarboro Street, Suite 200.