The Well Healed Woman: Health, Healing and Humor

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Well Healed Woman logo

Last week I joined approximately 699 other women to attend the 12th anniversary of the Well Healed Woman Conference.  This dynamic event, sponsored by Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in Groton, CT, delivered a generous dose of everything it promised– health, healing and humor.

Deborah Norville kept us totally rapt in her keynote address, sharing hilarious and poignant life stories; but it was Dr. Valerie Popkin who gripped me with statistics on heart disease in her talk, "One Heart, Keep it Healthy."  Age is a risk factor for developing heart disease, and at my age of 65, it seems only a matter of time before I join the majority of women over the age of 70 who've been diagnosed. (To see what your risk of having a heart attack is, take the Framingham Heart Study risk assessment.

So what to do?   Cardiovascular fitness is one of the most important indicators of health and longevity in humans. And new evidence suggests the corollary is also true:  low cardio fitness is as strong a predictor of cardiovascular disease as are well-established risk factors like smoking, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Given the research, you can be confident that you can reduce your disease risk by improving your fitness level.

The 2020 U. S. "Impact Goals" recently introduced by the American Heart Association declares that you can experience a healthier life if you raise your levels of physical activity by increasing the intensity/frequency and/or duration of your cardio activity.  In other words, if you are currently accumulating 30 minutes of walking most days of the week, you should aim to increase your sessions to 20-60 minutes of continuous activity and include intervals of faster pace.  Improving your cardio fitness from low to moderate and/or high levels significantly reduces your risk of disease.

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