February American Heart Month. While heart problems have always been associated with men’s health, cardiovascular disease is actually the number #1 killer of women age 18 and above. Mujeres, we have a responsibility to take care of our heart health and make lifestyle decisions that can help us reduce our risk for heart disease. It's so easy to put our loved ones ahead of our own health needs, we tend to do this a lot, but we need to make sure that we take care of ourselves too.
According to the US Dept. of Health, "Heart disease is the #1 killer of Latinas in the United States. Together with stroke, heart disease accounts for a third of all deaths among Latinas—cancer, the second-leading cause of death, accounts for about a fifth. Latinas also have high rates of some factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease, such as diabetes, overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity."
The good news is that many initiatives have blossomed throughout the month of February to raise awareness and provide information to improve women’s heart health. With healthy lifestyle choices, women can lower their risk of heart disease by 82%! To learn more about what you can do to keep your heart healthy check out our full article here.
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
- What are my cholesterol numbers? (These include total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, a type offat found in the blood and food.) What do they mean for me, and what do I need to do about them?
- What are my “body mass index” (BMI) and waist measurement? Do they mean that I need to lose weight for my health?
- What is my blood sugar level, and does it mean I’m at risk for diabetes? If so, what do I need to do about it?
- What other screening tests for heart disease do I need?
- What can you do to help me quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
- What’s a heart healthy eating plan for me?
- How can I tell if I may be having a heart attack? If I think I’m having one, what should I do?
Tip of the Week
February is American Heart Month. While heart problems have always been associated with men’s health, cardiovascular disease is actually the number #1 killer of women age 18 and above. Women have a responsibility to take care of their heart health and make lifestyle decisions that can help them reduce their risk for heart disease. Many initiatives have blossomed throughout the month of February to raise awareness and provide information to improve women’s heart health. To learn more about such initiatives just visit: HeartTruth.gov
If you are not already physically active starting a new exercise program can be intimidating. In truth you don’t have to become an ironman competitor or an ultra-runner to keep your ticker in shape. Walking your 10,000 steps daily can help you save your life. Choose what you love to do, challenge yourself gradually and try one new exercise, class or fitness DVD once a month. Mix it up and have fun with it.
With a busy work schedule, family obligations, and intense weekend activities, it can be challenging to get the recommended amount of physical activity. Every woman should reach the daily goal of 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, combining both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. With a renewed sense of commitment, a few adjustments to your schedule and a little bit of creativity, let’s see how it can be possible to reach such healthy goals:
Do not try to do it all at once: short bouts work just as well. Scientific research shows that moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day in 10-minute intervals, and it can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes uninterrupted. 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and ten minutes in the evening will get the job done. You can also increase the segments to 15-20 minutes, whenever your busy schedule will allow it, and reach a new goal. Small exercise segments are ALWAYS better than no exercise at all!
Be creative! Alternate moderate- and high-intensity physical activity to meet your daily fitness goals. For instance, you can speed-walk for 30 minutes twice per week and jog or run at a faster pace on two other days, one day you can bike, one day you can jump-rope, and one day you can enjoy a relaxing swim. You can also have a mixed session of 5 minutes walk, 5 minutes jog, and a 100 yard sprint at a higher intensity, add 10 push-ups and 20 sit-ups, then repeat each segment again 3 times. Time will go by faster, it will feel like you are playing a game, and it will do wonders to your body!
Daily fitness-time. Set aside specific days and times for exercise, and just make it as much a regular part of your daily schedule as everything else you do. Whether it is easier for you to work-out early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, or right after the kids go to bed, or during your lunch break, just carve out your own special time to take care of your heart: think of it as of the most important thing you do for yourself during the day!
You do not need a gym membership! In order to get your daily dose of side-effect-free, mood-enhancing, overall-just-good-for-you physical activity you do not need to join an expensive gym, wear sophisticated sport attire, or waste time and gas commuting to an indoor facility. A pair of athletic shoes, comfortable clothes, a little motivation, a park, a quiet road, a set of stairs, or your living room is all you need to be more active. Keep it simple! Check out our articles on great routines you can do at home or at the park.
The family that works out together... Recruit friends, family, and children in your mission to health. Think of it as showing them how much you love them by motivating them to be active and healthy. It will be a great group activity and a lot of fun too!!! Volleyball games, backyard baseball, tackle football, strolling down the beach, family tug-of-war, bike rides, hopscotch tournament…your imagination is the limit. Recruit, recruit, recruit! It is a great way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a healthy lifestyle.
Remember also to cultivate healthy, loving, genuine, supportive and inspiring human relationships…they are so good for your heart!