Written by Kasia Wind
Let’s be real: when you’re sweating in the gym, between sets of presses and rows, you’re likely not thinking about your heart health. Your mind wanders between checking in on your form, how much you’re loving that new tune on your playlist, and what you’re going to eat later (tacos, probably).
It’s not that you don’t care about having a healthy, blood-pumping, bulletproof beatbox. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. As a STRONG woman, you know that your regular exercise habits already help to keep your most important fit bit in great shape, and the latest medical science agrees.
In two separate studies published at the end of 2016 in the journals Mayo Clinic Proceedings and Circulation, completely unrelated teams of researchers came to the exact same conclusion: your fitness levels alone can help predict your long-term risk of premature death from heart disease, even when other risk factors, such as blood pressure, smoking, and consumption of margaritas are taken out of the equation (according to the first study).
So here’s where you really need to pay attention: both studies concluded that fitness levels should be used clinically by doctors to screen patients for risk of heart disease, in a similar fashion to more traditional risk factors, like smoking and diet.
That’s. Great. News. Especially for women who hit the gym on the regular. But it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, placing an abstract check-in-the-box next to “heart health” on your To-Do list, and sending it off to Never-Think-About-Again Land, where things like your high school haircut live.