Little did the sweet-natured plumber with the neck tattoo know that, when he showed up at my house two hours early to fix my kitchen sink yesterday, he had put my life at risk.
What Wayne had innocently done by coming at 8:00a.m. instead of 10, is eliminated the only time I have during the day to work-out, thus increasing my chances of developing breast cancer and heart disease.
I know, I know. I'm taking all the recent medical news way too seriously, right? But if you actually take time to read what researchers are recommending - you'd be just as anxious to get to the gym as I am.
I've been exercising regularly most of my life, but it hasn't been until the last year that I've been on a vigorous daily work-out regime attempting to maintain my weight and naturally ease pre-menopausal symptoms.
But my fitness-mania accelerated last week when the American Heart Association issued updated guidelines for preventing cardiovascular disease in women, which, if you didn't know, is the leading cause of death among women.
The guidelines urge women and health care professionals to take a more lifetime view of heart disease risk, including new directions regarding aspirin use, hormone therapy, mineral and vitamin supplements, and lifestyle modifications - in particular, diet and physical activity.
Regarding exercise, the AHA guidelines were very specific:
"Physical activity recommendations for women who need to lose weight or sustain weight loss have been added – with a minimum of 60–90 minutes of moderate-intensive activity (e.g., brisk walking) on most, and preferably all, days of the week."
And there it is. To increase your chances of NOT developing heart disease, women need to vigorously exercise up to 90 minutes a day.
As part of her women's health and wellness campaign, First Lady Laura Bush has been making the rounds of morning shows this month talking about women and heart disease (It's American Heart Month, BTW). And on CNN this week, Mrs. Bush told Larry King she walks to keep fit and stay healthy. "That's what I love to do. It's easy to do. You don't have to join a gym," she told King.
Well I’ve got news for you Mrs. Bush. Just plain old walking, according to the AHA, isn’t enough. And according to two other studies, it’s not enough to help protect you from breast cancer either.
Some new, highly-publicized research featured in this month's Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention journal (don't get this one at home, do ya) states in a simple opening sentence that "physical activity reduces breast cancer risk."
And another breast cancer study out this week takes that even further. According to The WaPost, a study by University of Southern California researchers found that "women who had a long-term history of doing more than five hours per week of strenuous exercise were 20 percent less likely to develop invasive breast cancer and 31 percent less likely to develop in situ breast cancer than those who did less than 30 minutes of strenuous exercise per week."
There it is again. Extended periods of vigorous, daily exercise. And this one adds "over the long term.”
I’m no hypochondriac. But you can see why the loss of just one day of strenuous exercise is freakin’ me out. If I don’t get to the gym, or the pool, or the tennis court, or out to run, or on my bike – DAILY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR – I face certain death.
Or not. Good genes help, too.
I've been on tenterhooks, ending in dirty looks
List'ning to the Muzak, thinking 'bout this 'n' that
She said, "That's that, I don't wanna chitter-chat"
Turn it down a little bit or turn it down flat
Pump it up, when you don't really need it
Pump it up, until you can feel it
How seriously do you take medical news? Do you take it to heart, do you act on it, do you talk to your doctor about what you’ve heard? Click below on “Comments” and join the conversation.