When you consider that nine out of ten women have at least one risk factor for heart disease, it only makes sense that we all should be taking proactive steps to be heart smart. While heart disease is the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States, it’s also largely preventable. In fact, women can lower their risk of developing heart disease by as much as 80% by making healthy lifestyle changes.
Among the most beneficial strategies that you can take to protect your heart is to embrace a more active lifestyle. While hitting the gym is one option, there are plenty of ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life. Running, bicycling, swimming and even tasks like housework and gardening offer tremendous health benefits. The key is choosing to move. Don’t have time for an exercise class or a trip to the gym? A daily walk offers plenty of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving sleep and boosting your mood.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Don’t give up if you can’t hit the target yet. The key is to start slowly. Begin with three to five minutes of moderate or purposeful walking each day. Try to maintain a speed of at least three to 3.5 miles per hour to get your heart rate to where it should be.
Since you need to be consistent with physical activity if you want to reap the health benefits, it’s important to set and track goals. A good place to start is setting up a goal to walk 30 minutes each day at a pace that’s moderate. And, make sure to speak with your doctor first before beginning any type of exercise program.
Getting heart healthy is within your reach. Heart Smart for Women: Six S.T.E.P.S. in Six Weeks to Heart-Healthy Living is a complete roadmap for women of all ages on their journey to heart-healthy living. Written by Northwell Health cardiologists Drs. Jennifer H. Mieres and Stacey E. Rosen, this book details clear steps to begin or advance your exercise routine, eat healthier, and form and maintain a valuable partnership with your healthcare provider. Get the Heart Smart for Women book today.
Find out more about how to take charge of your heart health. At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.