Tools to Turn Around Heart Disease Risk in Women
Nicole Van Hoey, PharmD | May 11, 2017
Heart disease kills as many women every year in the United States as all types of cancers combined. This statistic persists despite better education and more woman-selective care. Most women want to improve their heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease, but they need to find ways that fit into a busy lifestyle. One key to positive health change for busy women? Small habit-forming changes instead of big short-term efforts.
Try a few minutes at a time
To fit cardiovascular exercise into a busy day, try bursts of only a few minutes. Although 30 minutes of moderately challenging exercise five times a week is recommended to prevent heart disease, those 30 minutes don’t have to be all at once. Five or 10 minutes of exercise many times a day is just as effective, even if it isn’t as glamorous. These short routines can happen when you make dinner,unpack takeout, run errands, or walk around your office.
Document your success
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to exercise, or to see how far you’ve come when your efforts seem small. Tracking success with apps can be an affordable and easy way to motivate yourself by checking off completed activities or seeing faster and longer exercise times over the course of a month or year. Tech motivation doesn’t have to cost a lot, though; smartphone apps like Human are free ways to remind you to move and show off what you accomplish.
Find your virtual peer support
Most people exercise more effectively if they have motivators like peer groups, or publicized goals. If you can’t enroll in exercise clubs or classes because of cost or time concerns, rely on technology to connect you with likeminded women—for free. Members-only groups like IronHeart Connect on social media, or a woman-centered video campaign like Go Red For Women, offer encouragement, accountability, and bonding about heart health for people of all ages and abilities.
Nutrition matters: diet right
One of the best ways to lower heart disease risk is to educate yourself about positive lifestyle changes. The Heart Truth helps people understand why small changes like whole grains for breakfast offer long-term protection. Women who are already fighting heart disease can use the SecondsCount website for more ideas about small but important heart-smart actions.
Be part of a positive change
Your contributions to improve heart disease statistics and encourage others toward healthy choices are important. Be part of a positive change for women with heart disease: take a strong role in self care and connect with others to make better choices easier for all women. Forge connections that strengthen you physically and emotionally!