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Women's Health: Kick Starting Your Journey into Fitness

By Meghana Giridhar, May 3

National Women’s Health Week will be celebrated from May 8th-14th, 2016. Here is an interview with Dr. Ruth Heidrich, author of four books and a world-champion Ironman triathlete. She has been a staunch educator in promoting a healthy lifestyle.  She's a winner of over 900 trophies in races such as 6 Ironman triathlons, 67 marathons, bicycling & swimming including 8 gold medals in the Senior Olympics, all this after her diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer.  Her story is also featured in the very popular documentary, Forks Over Knives. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into fitness.  I can honestly say that it was curiosity that led me on this journey. First, back in 1968 I saw a paperback on the newsstand with the title, Aerobics. I'd never seen the word before, so, out of curiosity, I picked it up, thumbed through it, saw that it was about lung and heart fitness and that was enough. I bought it, read it, and started my running career the next day, running a whole mile!  Then, shortly after being diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, I saw a 3-line notice in the local paper seeking women with breast cancer to participate in diet research study which required women to use only diet as their treatment, no chemotherapy or radiation. I signed up!  Both moves inspired by curiosity have been monumental in my life! In today’s times, what is the single most important aspect lacking in women’s health, according to you? Education, maybe more importantly, mis-education!  Since we don't arrive with an owner's manual tied to our toes at birth, much of what we are taught about care of our bodies is from trial and error with the emphasis on error. How do diet and exercise co-exist when it comes to women’s health? They are two sides of the same coin. Both are important to our health. Is it better to start dieting before beginning any kind of exercise regime? If you really had to do only one to start with, I'd say that diet is far more important to your health, especially as it can reverse so many of the most common diet-related degenerative diseases that afflict us. How do you decide which exercise regime is good for you? Try them all!  Or, at least as many as you want and see which ones are most enjoyable. This is important because if you don't enjoy it, you won't do it. What are some common mistakes women make when it comes to pursuing a fitness regime? Too much too soon, expecting immediate results, and not getting proper instruction from a coach or book. Is it better to exercise at high intensity for shorter periods or lower intensity for longer periods? It depends on your goals as both have their benefits. For maximum fast results, high intensity is good and lower intensity is good for endurance. I like to do both. Please share some common myths regarding women’s health. One of the most dangerous is that the more protein in your diet, the better.  Related to this is the belief that carbohydrates make you fat. Actually, the populations with the highest intakes of carbohydrates are the leanest. Most people believe that high impact is bad for your joints but research shows that this is what stimulates the osteoblasts, the bone-building cells. Whom should you consult if you want to begin a proper health regime?   I highly recommend a vegan fitness trainer to get the best of advice about both diet and exercise. What is your advice for women who want to get started with dieting and exercises but don’t know how to? The best advice for women to get started with both diet and exercise is to get educated. It's a fascinating field but also covers a lot of territory. To cover this adequately would take a book!  Come to think of it, I did write a book on the subject. Check out my website, for my recommendations. Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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