Have a heart? Move your body!

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in exercise, heart disease | 2 comments


Ladies, listen up! Roughly one third of your life is spent in menopause and thereafter, which is why it’s so important to manage your health appropriately. One of the greatest issues during this time is heart disease, and after menopause, women are exponentially at increased risk for developing cardiovascular conditions compared to their male peers. Although there are numerous reasons for this increased risk, changes in hormones, namely estrogen, can set the wheels in motion, affecting weight, cholesterol levels and in some women, the way that they process sugar in their bloodstream. The bottom line is that as we lose the protective effects of the ovarian hormones, our cardiovascular system is at increased risk. Moreover, one of the most important consequences is the impact on what researchers refer to as ‘autonomic cardiovascular control,’ i.e. heart rate, pressure in the arteries, the ability of the heart to contract properly and the overall ability of the blood vessels to increase the amount of blood that they hold without significantly increasing blood pressure.

Until now, hormone replacement has been the go-to strategy to modify these heart disease risks. Yet, as we all know, the benefits of HRT with regard to heart disease prevention have been challenged and in fact, some studies show an increased rate of stroke and heart events.

The good news is that researchers are now saying that regular physical exercise may be the answer!

It’s a fairly well known fact that physical exercise can improve quality of life and even reduce the risk and/or overall progression of heart disease. One of the ways that it confers its protective effect is the direct impact on autonomic cardiovascular control mentioned earlier in this post. In particular, study findings suggest that regular physical activity may help modulate heart rate and correct the pressure in the arteries (which tends to bounce all over the place as estrogen declines and we age), although for reasons that are unclear, the same benefits are not seen in women who have undergone early menopause.

A common thread found in Flashfree over the years has been to move your body. Aside from weight, wellbeing and perhaps a balancing of vasomotor symptoms, regular exercise may also act as a buffer against physiological changes that occur as estrogen declines and heart disease risk soars.

There’s no time like the present. Get moving!!!!


  1. 12-10-2013

    This subject is on my mind. I plan to see a physician after the holidays to have some preventative tests run.

    My mother died 4 weeks ago from an abdominal aneurysm which burst during an MRI. As she aged, her blood pressure increased, and she had other coronary issues as well.

    Her mother died from an aortic aneurysm. Her brother died from a brain aneurysm. I have similar health tendencies as my mom and her family.

    Good post. Hope you are well and your move went well too.


    • 12-15-2013

      Glad to hear that it resonated, Magnolia. Coming from you, I am honoured.

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