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Women's Health Forum focuses on heart

February 05, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Arm curls with bottles of water at the desk chair.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Dusting off that hula hoop in the attic.

They are activities that can add up during the day to help establish a healthy heart, said Elisabeth Yeun, a clinical dietitian at Washington County Hospital.

Yeun was one of the experts Thursday at Robinwood Medical Center hoping to help women understand the importance of heart health.

The Women's Health Forum aimed to dispel the myth that men are more likely to suffer from heart disease, said Pam Peitz, head of cardiac rehabilitation at Washington County Hospital.

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Women are just as likely to have heart disease and women were invited to a Heart Healthy Marketplace in Robinwood Medical Center's atrium for heart disease and stroke screenings. They could also learn exercise tips and how to prohibit major life changes like divorce and career change from negatively affecting health.

The forum included a dinner and a keynote address by Christopher Vaccari, a doctor with Hagerstown Heart.

Forum organizers were stressing how women need to pay attention to diet and exercise for good cardiovascular health.

Performing exercises at her station, Yeun showed how women can blend exercise into their busy daily routines.

Yeun picked up two full plastic water bottles and started doing arm curls. It's important to gradually increase the intensity of exercise to protect against injury, Yeun said.

Then one can move up to hand weights, Yeun said.

A gym workout is a great challenge, Yeun said.

But if women are struggling to fit exercise into their schedules, they can spread it out during the day, like doing arm curls at the desk chair or walking up steps for 10 minutes, which counts as an aerobic activity, Yeun said.

Yeun pulled out a special weighted hula hoop. It had a padded surface and weighed 3 pounds. Yeun spun the hula hoop around her waist, her body steadily rocking to keep it moving.

Yeun said the hula hoop exercise can be done during daily routines, like watching TV.

"(It's) wasted time anyway," Yeun said.

Bonnie Elgin of Hagerstown attended the forum.

Elgin said she exercises and watches her diet. The forum issues were important to her since heart disease runs in her family and she recently discovered she has high cholesterol.

"My doctor told me to get busy," Elgin said, referring to a regular exercise routine.

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