In 2014, a very good friend of mine, Laura Polian, invited me to attend the ‘Go Red for Women’ Luncheon with her. She had sponsored a table and invited a special group of ladies to attend with her. Since I had never been to one of these events before, my first thought was “This will be so much fun to spend time with other ladies, conversing, getting to know one another and have a wonderful, healthy lunch together”. What really happened was that and so much more!
I had no previous thought or education about heart disease, because no one in my immediate family had a challenge with it. What I did learn is that it’s a REALLY big deal, especially for women. Did you know that heart disease IS the leading cause of death in women, and only 54% of women recognize this? I did not know that. Sometimes women may live a totally normal life, busy with their usual activities and be completely unaware of any symptoms, until something major happens. Knowing this peaked my interest and desire to learn more. As a wife and mother of 4, that was the last thing I wanted: to be completely unaware of something negative happening in my body until it stops me in my tracks.
As I listened to the medical doctors speak, I quickly created a checklist in my mind about all the listed potential symptoms – didn’t have any of those. Then they moved to the risk factors: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking – didn’t have any of those either. At this point, I’m feeling pretty good, like I’m almost out of the woods until they mention overweight, poor diet, physical inactivity, use of alcohol – ok, you got me! I wouldn’t say I’m extreme one way or another in these areas, but I know those are areas that I could improve on.
I’m not mentioning these things because I am proud of them, I just know that there are some things that I can do to enhance my lifestyle in order to live the healthiest I possibly can. Being aware of things is the first step to making changes!
This event truly opened my eyes to the importance of taking care of your heart because of the education and all the women they had cross the stage and tell their story. These were women just like me… some younger, some older, some very fit and lean; some were not. You wouldn’t be able to just look at this group of women and know they all had a heart condition in common, especially the keynote guest speaker, Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer!
What I came away with most is that even though we can’t predict our own future, we are in control of our own actions, which means we can all take preventive measures like:
- eating a healthy diet by choosing plenty of fruits and vegetables for snacks and meals, and avoiding processed foods
- maintaining a healthy weight range and BMI (body mass index)
- exercising at least 20 mins every day, even if it’s a quick walk or bike ride… something is better than doing nothing,
- and spreading the word by sharing with your friends and family what you are doing .. You may inspire them too!
Whether you have a current heart situation you are dealing with or not, you can start making the right choices to live a healthier lifestyle –
Your heart is counting on you! #MoveYourMtn