Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle as an active woman can be difficult. After working on your career and trying to keep up with your social-life, it can be hard to find time to eat and exercise in healthy ways. Identity Magazine’s very own EIC, Allison Shadel, shares information from doctors, experts and women just like you on how to achieve and keep up a healthy identity.
By Allison Shadel
As Identity readers, you are learning to take more time to accept and appreciate yourselves. But let’s be honest, you are probably still running around like mad women. With such crazy schedules, you may have lapsed on your heart-healthy lifestyle. According to The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women. So, in honor of World Heart Day on September 25, we would like to share some tips from doctors and readers on how to maintain healthy lifestyles.
Steve Foley, M.D., of Colorado Springs, suggests combining your cholesterol test with your next Pap smear. “Get a VAP with your PAP” is his slogan. “Because heart disease is the number one killer of women and they aren’t asking for their cholesterol to be checked,” he says. “I started ordering the VAP Test when I first heard about it almost six years ago. It is the most accurate and easiest method to evaluate my female patients for elevated cholesterol as well as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It is particularly helpful when developing a treatment plan for women and also helps to monitor response to treatment. The VAP Test is much more accurate than the commonly used cholesterol screening test, is inexpensive, and can be done without fasting.”
Foley also suggests asking your doctor for an advanced lipid panel because the standard test identifies only 40-percent of those at risk for coronary heart disease. These are really great tips to keep in mind when you eventually find time to squeeze a doctor’s appointment into your hectic schedules.
Your eating habits affect your heart’s health. Here are a few tips from women like you, who practice healthy living.
Body expert Kathi Casey, ERYT, CPI, says combining diet, exercise and stress reduction is the key to success.
Casey suggests keeping a food log. “When you write everything down that you put into your mouth, you tend not to partake of that pile of cheese and crackers while cooking dinner,” she says.
There’s an App for that! Luca Meli suggests downloading the iFeelFood app, which allows immediate calculation of nutritional values in relation to the estimated average daily intake.
Casey suggests high-intensity interval workouts of jumping rope, bike riding, or running for about 20 minutes.
“My recommendation is a three to four minute warm up and then 30 seconds of pushing yourself as hard as humanly possible, then 90 seconds of slowing WAY down,” Casey says. “Continue your movement, but slow down enough so that your heart rate can come back to normal, then repeat the 30 seconds of strenuous and 90 seconds of slow. Start with two or three sets and work up to 8 sets. End with another three to four minutes of walking as a cool down.”
Wellness Coach Denise Baron says laughing, having a passion and purpose are paramount to having a healthy heart. She also suggests conscious breathing (like yoga) to care for your heart. “It strengthens heart muscles, improves the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood vessels.
All of these recommendations can help you maintain or start a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to give yourself time to Accept, Appreciate, and Achieve!