Well, I guess that decides it. Both my parents have suffered major cardiac problems within the past two years (before the age of 60) and at least one grandparent on each side of my family has died from heart-related problems (just before or after 60). What does that mean for me?
I'm totally hosed.
But I guess that really depends on me. After my mother had a heart attack, I decided to make some major lifestyle changes. I cut out processed food, began to really pay attention to my sodium intake, and became more dedicated to working out. And I lost about 20 lbs. Recently though I seem to have plateaued, and now its time to step it up.
Since about November of last year I've been focusing on working out at least 5 times a week. But here are the new rules: a "work out" consists of at least 30 minutes of solid activity. If I don't sweat buckets, it doesn't count. I'm also going to keep track of the workouts. I got some great suggestions over from my peeps on Facebook, including one from my friend Lis' blog (Inchoate Debate) to make a workout calendar with big red Xs on the days where I meet my goal. To help motivate myself, for every month that I meet the 5 workout a week goal, I'm going to treat myself to a reward. An item from my Amazon wishlist, a manicure or pedicure, or maybe some neat workout gear, but it will be something. FYI, I always go for the carrot rather than the stick, at least when it comes to self-motivation. Never underestimate the power of a good stick when trying to motivate others.
I'm also going to do better about keep track of my progress (i.e. buying an actual scale) and measuring my blood pressure. Maybe my first workout reward will a blood pressure machine!
Hmm. I'm not sure the "new blood pressure machine!" is really doing it for me in terms of a reward. So maybe I'll go for the Doctor Who specials on blu-ray instead.
There you have it: 5 workouts a week, continue avoiding processed food and eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and in general keep living an active life. I also can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get back to my walks. After Mom's heart attack I started walking in the evenings and weekends about two to three times a week and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I have missed it since the winter kicked in. It's funny how quickly something can become a habit. So come on Spring, get me back out there!