Heart Health
Walking for Heart Health
Jun 17, 2013 - 9:56:09 AM

( - Heart attack is the number one killer of women in the US, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Women don't have to become statistics. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the AHA, and it is asking women to walk. Harriet Hodgson's new guide, Walking Woman: Step-by-Step to a Healthier Heart, supports this idea.

She wrote the book for women of all ages and herself. "I have a heart murmur, a souvenir of childhood Scarlet Fever," she explained. "I also have high blood pressure." To reduce the burden on her heart Hodgson's doctor asked her to lose weight. The guide begins with Hodgson's weight loss story and tells how life stressors caused her to gain the weight back.   "My story could almost be every woman's story," she noted.

Walking Woman supports the American Heart Association's motto, "Walk more. Eat better. Live a longer, healthier life."

Of the guide Carol Allred, Immediate Past Chair of the WomenHeart Board of Directors, writes: As a woman who had a heart attack and is living with a damaged heart, I know how important it is to have a regular exercise program. Not all women in this situation can afford gym fees, but walking is free. Harriet Hodgson's book, Walking Woman, is a wonderful guide to getting started on a regular waling program and maintaining it. Start walking for your heart today and improve your life as much as I've improved mine. Oh how I wish I had this book when I started my own "walk for your life" program following a heart attack!"

Hodgson divides the guide into two parts, Walking Facts: Your Fitness Foundation, Tracking and Quotes: Your Fitness Motivation. Each chapter of the facts section cites the resources she used, an added bonus for readers. The second section contains a variety of walking-related quotes. Some touch the heart, as with the quote about Helen Keller walking with her face towards the sun. Other quotes touch the funny bone, as with Erma Bombeck's quote about not accepting a drink from a urologist.

The guide contains a "Walking Buddies" page for the reader to fill in, as well as "Walking Log" pages. Hodgson does what she asks others to do, and walks a mile on the treadmill each day.  She adds extra steps by parking at the back of the lot, taking stairs, and walking in discount stores. This grandmother has made a pledge to herself: I will walk a half hour today for heart health and all my tomorrows. She asks other women to join her in this pledge.

"Walking is a journey of health and a journey of self," she said.


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