By Patricia Hall, Fairfax Family Fun
Summer is just about here and we’re starting to see posts about getting in shape for “swimsuit season.” But fitness is not about mere looks: getting fit is about making sure you are healthy, a message that’s important to share with women. Did you know that one in three women dies of heart disease and stroke? And that this happens at higher rates with African American and Hispanic women? And that more women than men die every year from heart disease and stroke?
The good news, according to the American Heart Association, is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. To encourage all women to be heart-healthy, the association has again launched its Go Red Get Fit campaign. Teaming with and Macy’s, the American Heart Association has kicked off its second annual program to encourage participants to improve their health and fitness. The second annual #GoRedGetFit is an online fitness challenge for women that includes specific measurable goals – and rewards.
The American Heart Association encourages participants to “Pep Your Step for Good” by logging 10,000 steps a day and get their cholesterol checked and talking with their doctors about what the numbers mean.
This year’s campaign is led by Scott Parker, who has trained celebrities such as award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott and comedian and actress Niecy Nash, and fitness mentor Lisa Morales, a former TV personality who offers healthy eating tips, workout plans and inspiration.
Along with tips from these fitness leaders, the #GoRedGetFit website offers information on how to understand your health numbers and tasty recipes (with all nutritional information listed) and tips for cooking, shopping, and stress management.
To encourage women to start making healthy changes that become lifelong habits and support other women, the #GoRedGetFit campaign includes the chance to win prizes. When you join the special Facebook group, you and other participants can share recipes, encouragement, inspiration, and motivation. Doing so will give you the chance to win prizes from Go Red For Women and Macy’s, including a grand prize to the 2018 Red Dress Collection in New York City in February (winners will be randomly chosen).
This peer encouragement is important because it’s not always easy to stick to goals. “You might not make 10,000 steps each day. I don’t. That’s okay,” Scott Parker says. “Just try to be more active the next day. It’s about being accountable.” We know that women, especially moms, often do not take the time for themselves. Signing up for the GoRedGet Fit challenge — and encouraging your friends to do so, especially those at higher risk — is a good start. Friends that do fitness challenges together, stay healthy together, which is why the support systems, such as the GoRedGetFit group on Facebook, can be helpful.
Additional challenges are:
- “Glisten Up and Get Lean” (July – September): Get three days of strength and resistance training exercises as part of your 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, five days per week) of exercise and eat healthy sources of protein like more lean meat and nuts, less red meat.
- “It Takes Two to Tango” (October – December): Get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (30 minutes a day, five days per week) and focus on reading and understanding food labels.
- “She Got Moves” (January – March): Select from any of the previous physical activity quarterly challenges, 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes, five days per week), and make a weekly meal plan to keep meals healthy, balanced and well-proportioned.
#GoRedGetFit is an initiative of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women program with 12-week challenges that offer women a platform with guidance and educational tools. As the founding national sponsor of Go Red For Women, Macy’s has helped to raise more than $55 million for the cause since 2004. For more information about #GoRedGetFit visit www.GoRedForWomen.org/GoRedGetFit/. The American Heart Association recommends all adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol, and other traditional risk factors, checked every four to six years.
This post was sponsored by the American Heart Association.
Images: Logo (c) American Heart Association; photo (c) Stock Unlimited, used with permission