Work your heart

Remember that gym membership you got for Christmas? The one you swore you would start using as soon as the

Remember that gym membership you got for Christmas? The one you swore you would start using as soon as the holidays were over, the family was gone and the kids were back in school? Well, dust it off and grab your runners, because a new study confirms that exercise lowers the risk of developing coronary heart disease in women, regardless of their body mass index (BMI).

In an analysis of nearly 39,000 women free of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, researchers hoped to gauge the combined affect of BMI and physical activity on coronary heart disease (CHD).

Independently, each factor affects CHD. Why they thought that a combined affect would be different is anyone’s guess.

Not surprisingly, increased levels of cardio and aerobic exercise, including lower impact walking reduced risks for CHD. But the results also showed that they did not eliminate the risk entirely. This supports previous studies suggesting that losing excess fat (if overweight) is still important.

A few interesting facts that also came to light: higher BMI was linked to hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes; inactive women were more likely to be smokers than their active counterparts; “female health professionals tend to be healthier than the general population.” (Gee, I wonder how that happened.)

With cardiovascular disease on the rise among women and yet another study supporting the benefits of exercise for your heart, I’d like to know: Do you feel the need to exercise more? Will you?

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