Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Get Your Heart On with YMC and Becel

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 Motion Room was crowded with women ready for a work-out and to get their cholesterol tested
then discuss the results with a dietitian. Heart-healthy snacks, including smoked salmon on whole-grain bagels, and fruit kabobs were on the evening's refreshment menu.

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 Motion Room can use ultrasound to capture an image of your muscle mass.  This is my tricep. The blue  is muscle (outlined by the trainer with red). The dark area above the blue is fat. This imaging can be used to track the development of muscle throughout your training. The dark area of fat should decrease and be replaced by blue muscle. Then you know your training is achieving the results you're looking for.
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)

1 comment:

  1. What a great post! This sounds like a really great event. I have a physical coming up so I'm going to ask to get my cholesterol checked for sure! Thanks for all the great tips!


I love to know you're reading! What's on your mind?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...