Heart disease and stroke is the number 1 killer of women in Canada, taking nearly 35,000 lives each year. That’s more than all forms of cancer combined.
Most women have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke, yet women aren’t aware of this.
In 2011, the Heart and Stroke Foundation found that too many Canadians are in denial about the risk factors for heart disease. There are risk factors you can’t control, such as age, gender, family history and ethnicity. But some of the risk factors contributing to heart disease and stroke can be controlled.
Reducing the risks of heart disease and stroke are as simple as physical activity. Physical inactivity has been found to be the most common of all risk factors contributing to heart disease and stroke. A recent Statistics Canada Canadian Health Measures Survey revealed that 85 per cent of Canadians don’t meet the recommended amount of 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity. That translates to only 22 minutes a day.
Physical inactivity is a contributing factor in most of the risk factors of heart disease that you can change, such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Physical activity helps prevent heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing levels of good cholesterol in the blood, among many other things. It can also help control blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
Evidence shows that physical activity provides significant benefits among all ages, ethnicities, disabilities and chronic conditions, even if you remain overweight. Exercise can also help those who already have heart disease prevent additional heart attacks.
Heart disease and stroke kill one in three Canadians, but they don’t have to. Everyone can prevent and reduce their risk of heart disease by not smoking, achieving a healthy body weight, being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day and eating a healthy diet.
If you are new to exercise, consult an expert, such as a personal trainer, to help you get started. And always check with a doctor before starting any exercise program.
Want to learn more? Visit me at www.felycesfitness.ca.