For more than 20 years, heart disease has been killing more women each year than men. But heart disease does not have to happen, even if there’s a family history. There’s a lot you can do in your own lifestyle to throw "fate" off track. Understand your heart disease risk—and take steps to reduce those risks.
By Miriam E. Nelson, MD
A perfectly good way of getting into moving your body more is to fit in little bursts of activity here and there. For women new to exercise, it’s often a better method of acclimating themselves to physical activity than trying to start a formal, structured program.
Make a pact with yourself to walk, rather than drive, for any errand that’s less than a mile. (Every mile you walk burns about 80 calories in the bargain.)
Never take escalators. And promise yourself you’ll always walk rather than take the elevator for at least two floors going up.
If you live in a two-story house, walk up the stairs every single time you want to put something away. Don’t let things pile up at the bottom of the staircase for one trip at the end of the day.
Instead of driving around until you find the closest spot to the entrance at the supermarket or mall, make a point of driving to the far end of the lot. (You’ll save a lot of aggravation not driving around and around until you find a very close spot. What a waste of time—and a very small savings in walking, anyway.)
These activities may seem useless, but over time, they add up to better conditioning. And they get you primed for more intense aerobic activity, which directly targets the heart, lungs and the rest of the cardiovascular system.