Star's Corner

Star’s Corner: How to Jumpstart Your Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

All dressed in RED from my head to my toes! That’s right ladies, it’s American Heart Month and I “Go Red For Women” all month long.

Bringing awareness to heart health is not about one day or one month out of the year. It’s about every day of our lives. It’s a daily lifestyle that can very well save your life and the lives of our friends, sisters, mothers and daughters.

Heart disease is a National health issue, and the facts are alarming: Heart disease is the no. 1 killer of all American women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined! The silent killer could have claimed my life back in 2010 and it led to me having open-heart surgery. Thank goodness I realized before it was too late that although I had kept the excess weight off, exercised consistently and ate a healthy diet, my body was trying to tell me something so I paid attention and caught it before I had a cardiac event. Being consciously aware of the warning signs saved my life—and it can save yours too! I’ve made it my mission to spread support, strength and awareness for other women; to reach as many women as I can to make progress towards heart disease prevention.

For five years now, I’ve served as the National Volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA) and volunteer spokesperson for their Go Red For Women™ movement. This initiative is designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health and maintain it throughout their lives. As a heart disease survivor, this is very personal to me.

To continue my advocacy on all available platforms, I am excited to be hosting our Go Red Connect webinar on Friday, February 19th at 1pm EST. Join me and my partner in all-things Local Chapters, Louise Newsome for an informative, educational and interactive hour. Help raise funds for the AHA and learn about heart disease prevention, research and how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle from our expert panelists. Invite your families, colleagues and friends. Hope to see you there!

The best defense against heart disease and stroke is a good offense. Here are a few things you should start doing NOW to jumpstart your heart-healthy lifestyle:

Watch Your Weight
Excess weight increases the heart’s work and also puts you at at higher risk health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Losing as few as 10 pounds can lower your heart disease risk. AHA recommends calculating your body mass index (BMI) to help you determine if you need to lose weight.

Get Up and Get Moving
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to stay heart-healthy. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, you won’t just be healthier—you’ll feel healthier and you’ll lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. You can find me swinging on the tennis courts to keep my heart pumping. I’m not as talented as my girl Serena Williams, but when I Go Red and win a game in the morning at my tennis clinic, I feel like a million bucks!

You Are What You Eat
If you eat unhealthy, your body won’t get the proper nutrients it needs. Try avoiding foods high in saturated fat, fried foods and simple sugars found in drinks, sweets and saturated oils. The AHA suggests choosing foods like vegetables, fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain breads and cereals and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. I like to frequent AHA’s Go Red recipes for delicious, heart-healthy dishes to make.

Schedule Your Well-Woman Visit
One of the best weapons against heart disease is to get to it before it gets to you. 80% of all cardiovascular disease may be preventable and early detection is key. Annual physicals and cardiology examinations can help spot early signs of heart disease and stroke so you can begin treatment or make lifestyle changes before risk factors become life threatening. I always schedule mine around my birthday. It’s my way of thanking God for another year of good health and life!

It’s never too late to take care of your health and your heart – Life is why!

We want to hear from you! What healthy changes have you made to prevent heart disease? What are you doing this month to promote heart-healthy living and heart disease awareness? Please share your comments below.




Megan Bozzuto

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