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home > training > training tips > this valentine’s day, take fitness seriously!

This Valentine’s Day, Take Fitness Seriously!
You only have one heart …. Don’t break it!

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Kathrine's Web Site

A Walking and Running program for all abilities

By Kathrine Switzer
Posted Monday, 14 February, 2005

Kathrine Switzer is the author of Running and Walking for Women Over 40 (St. Martin’s Press), an Emmy-award winning TV commentator and a former winner of the New York City Marathon. This is the first in a series of her proven tips to encourage women to take fitness seriously.

February is Heart Month….and that means more than Valentines. Did you know that Heart Disease is your Number One Killer? Most women think it is breast cancer, but Heart Disease kills more women than all the cancers combined, plus diabetes and HIV!

But here is the good news: up to one third of deaths due to heart disease are preventable through diet and exercise. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, studies show that regular running and walking can substantially reduce your risk.

As little as 30 minutes, three times a week achieve significant health benefits, and more is better.

I offer these simple tips to keep a healthy heart:

  • Make exercise a priority – you owe it to yourself. This is an investment in your quality of life, not an indulgence.
  • Make exercise FUN! And do it regularly. Aim for 30 minutes a day (45 is better), five times a week (7 is better). Remember that even 10 minutes is better than no minutes.
  • Mom was right! East plenty of fruits, vegetables and oatmeal and cut way down on saturated fats.
  • Begin to puff a little and work up a sweat. Here are fun ways to do that:
    • Walk with friends and pick up the pace for one-minute bursts
    • Ride your bike with your kids
    • Take the dog to a field and run for sticks with him
    • Do aerobics in front of the TV with the whole family
    • Walk to do your shopping and carry your purchases in a backpack
  • Give your kids a great valentine—take a walk with them every evening. You’ll start them early on a lifetime pattern of good heart health. Plus you’ll have a little more time to tell them you love them.
  • Women who are post menopausal or over age 50, and men over age 40, should consult their physician before beginning an exercise program.
  • See your doctor for an annual checkup. You only have one heart…don’t break it!
  • Have a GOAL. A Goal gives you a reason to exercise daily, and makes you feel proud of yourself. One of the best goals is to choose a local fun run or race a few weeks from now and aim to finish it.
  • You only have one heart--don't break it!

This is the first in a series of tips appearing on Cool Running on a regular basis, written by Kathrine Switzer. Kathrine's web page is now online, is a great read and can be found at



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