Weekly Wellness: Sweat for the love of it

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COLUMBIA - This week's topic is easy for me to talk about. It's something I absolutely love to do - EXERCISE! Exercise is not only my career, it is my passion. It is my therapy. It is my reward. It is my love. (Don't tell my boyfriend.)

In order to keep that nasty cardiovascular disease at bay, exercising is one of your best weapons to use! Combining exercise with maintaining a healthy body weight becomes an even stronger defense. And, the best part is, exercising can help you maintain a healthy body weight! Win-win!

To recap the last few weeks, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following tips for avoiding cardiovascular disease:

  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Get your cholesterol checked.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Manage your diabetes.
  • Take your medicine.

Keep all of the above in mind, as well as the following:

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for CVD. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, health care professionals often calculate a number called body mass index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person's body fat.

If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC's Assessing Your Weight website.

Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity activity for at least 150 minutes per week.

Remember to incorporate exercise into your day in different ways: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or rake the yard instead of using the leaf blower. Exercising with friends and family can be a great way to stay healthy and have fun. For more information, visit CDC's page on physical activity.

Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for CVD. If you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your health care team can suggest ways to help you quit. For more information about tobacco use and quitting, see CDC's Smoking & Tobacco Use website and Smokefree.gov.