Women and Heart Disease

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Activity Level Predicts Heart Disease in Women, by Joy Keller at IDEA Fitness Journal.

As a member of IDEA Health and Fitness Association, I have access to articles that impact women’s health and our society. After reading Keller’s article (select the link above for the full article), I wanted to share it with you.

Based on a study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292 [10], 1179–87), “New research suggests that a woman’s level of physical activity is a better sign than body weight of existing coronary artery disease and future heart problems.” I find this idea astounding for several reasons:

1) Women tend to worry more about our weight than how much we move.

2) Until recently, society focused on overweight and obese individuals as being more subject to heart disease, but not so much those in the normal body weight category.

3) Moderate activity levels can really help lower occurrences of cardiovascular disease.

There you have it, we really don’t need to workout like crazy to achieve heart healthy results. Moderate exercise (walking, taking stairs instead of an elevator, or completing household chores) accumulated throughout the day for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week will make dramatic overall health improvements.

It’s important to keep in mind, if you’re looking to increase cardio-respiratory endurance or lose weight, the guideline is different. According to the National Trainer’s Association, it is recommended that we exercise 20 to 60 minutes, three to five days per week and reduce 500 to 1,000 calories per day through diet and exercise. It is also recommended that we complete strength training  and stretching two to three days per week.

As we age our bodies tend to become less flexible. If at all possible, it’s best to stretch on a daily basis. With that said, if you don’t know how to stretch effectively, it’s best not to stretch at all to reduce the chance of injury.

Please feel free to tell me what you think of this post and ask questions. I’m all ears!

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