Peggy Fleming: Heart Champ
Skating champion Peggy Fleming beats the heart disease that plagued her family.Peggy Fleming has been an athletic inspiration to many of us on the ice. Now she has become a preventative health inspiration when it comes to heart disease. Losing her father to heart disease at the age of 41, then her sister to a fatal heart attack at 50, Peggy’s new life priority has become healthy living.
As an advocate for heart disease prevention, Peggy encourages these proactive steps:
- Daily take charge of your health. Upon researching complimentary medicine for the heart, Peggy started taking CoQ10, an antioxidant known for helping to treat cardiovascular disease. It helps daily with endurance and overall energy by improving circulation in the body, as well as efficiently manufacturing cholesterol.
- Watch what you eat. Peggy cooks healthfully, including eating the right foods such as vegetables, grains and legumes. She recommends eating foods high in fiber, up to 25-30 per day to help lower cholesterol. Good fuel for the body is the best diet for any Olympic athlete – or anyone with a heart.
- Exercise consistently. Even exercising 30-40 minutes most days can help prevent heart disease. Fleming chooses some sort of daily activity, be it running, swimming weight training or yoga, especially in the morning. By starting the day with daily fitness routines, her metabolism increases and makes managing her weight easier.
- Know your family history of heart disease. Having a parent with heart disease doubles your risk of heart disease. Plus, with a sibling who experienced heart problems, the risk for heart disease increased by as much as 45%. Know your family history and calculate age, gender, smoking, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes risks.
- Get regular check-ups. Peggy’s risk factor was genetics. Go see your doctor and find out what your risk factors are. Every 5 years you should get a complete blood profile test, starting at age 20. The test should include total LDL and HDL numbers.
The good news is that a family history of modifying lifestyles can act in your favor for preventing heart disease.
Peggy Fleming is a champion on the ice and off. By balancing exercise, supplements, healthy eating, regular doctor visits and knowledge of family history, she is an inspiration to all of us to take responsibility of our own health and not take it for granted. Be a champion yourself by taking charge of your own health today!