Last week I went a bit outside my comfort zone and attended an event at a fitness centre. It was a collaborative effort from the Yummy Mummy Club, The Motion Room, and Becel, and it aimed to raise awareness about women's heart health.
You may not realise, but heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death for Canadian women, and we need to be aware of our risk factors, including high cholesterol, obesity, and inactivity. Once we are aware, we need to take steps to protect our health (and our lives) by making positive changes or continuing on our already healthy path.
Yummy Mummy Club founder, Erica Ehm, has been taking these steps to work on her health and fitness at The Motion Room since their body composition test told her she has too much bad fat on her body, in relation to necessary fat and muscle. That bad fat is not good news.
|The body composition test told me that I am obese. |
What this really means is that I have too much bad fat, like Erica .
The Heart and Stroke Foundation presents some sobering statistics:
- Women are 16% more likely to die than men, following a heart attack.
- Stroke kills 32% more women than it does men.
Wow. These really are women's diseases.
But there are many steps we can take for prevention, including lowering our cholesterol, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and monitoring our blood pressure. Not smoking should go without saying.
According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, "Women who are 30 per cent over their healthy body weight are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease." This is sobering for me, as my body composition test put me in this range. Thankfully, I have excellent blood pressure, good cholesterol levels, and no family history of heart disease. So, I have some points in my favour. But diet and activity levels are against me. I'll be working hard this year to take some small, and then larger, steps to get me on a path to good heart health.
Incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into my diet. Reducing trans and saturated fats. I'll try to reduce my salt, as it contributes to high blood pressure. And I'll be working my way up to a more active life. 30-60 minutes of exercise a day is recommended, but the Foundation suggests even starting small with 10 minute walks every other day will help. They offer a HeartWalk Workout guide to help get started.
What do I want you to do? See your doctor. Talk about your risk factors. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked. Educate yourself.
For lots more information on heart disease and stroke, warning signs, prevention, and risk factors, please visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth site. Your heart will thank you!
"The bottom line is that awareness—of your risks, of the warning signs, and of prevention and treatment options—is your best defense against heart disease and stroke." (HSF)