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While running alone is never the best option for a variety of reasons, it is something many women frequently do. A better option is to always run with a friend. However, if that is not possible or you prefer to run alone, please heed some tips to help you stay safe.

Carry Pepper Spray or Mace: Although stalking is a concern, other things can also be dangerous to a runner, such as a stray dog or wild animal. Pepper spray or mace, can debilitate an attacker for a while and give you some extra time to get away. Mace made for runners comes in a ¾ ounce spray can and can project up to 12 feet, with approximately 10 bursts in it. If running on secluded nature trails with bears in the area, bear spray would be a good thing to carry instead.

Vary Your Route: It is never a good thing for someone not known your usual routine. Mix it up. Have several routes you can run and be unpredictable as far as which one you will run next.

Leave the Headphones at Home: When wearing headphones, your sense of hearing is diminished. You may not hear sounds to indicate someone is approaching you from the rear.

Take Self-Defense Classes: While this does give you another weapon to use against an attacker while running, it is good to know regardless of where you are. You never know where an attack will happen.

Make Yourself Visible: If you run at night, make sure other people can see you and you see them. Wear clothes with built-in reflectors, to be seen and for you to see wear a headlamp that projects light up ahead of you.

Use Common Sense: Let at least one person know which route you will be taking and when you expect to return. Carry your cell phone if you need to call for help. Stick to roads you know and avoid paths that might be uneven to reduce the risk of rolling an ankle or worse.

Trust Your Gut: If you are getting an uneasy feeling that something bad is about to happen, listen to it. It may be a good time to turn around and go the other way. It is a dangerous world we live in today and you must be on your toes to stay safe.

How are Heart Disease and Stroke Related?

Heart disease and stroke are related in several ways. The best way to understand the relationship between these two debilitating and dangerous conditions is to first define them.

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular insult or CVI, occurs when blood does not flow to your brain properly, resulting in the death of several brain cells. The effect is parts of your brain begin to function improperly, which sometimes results in the typical stroke symptom of lacking feeling on one side of your body.

Cardiovascular disease or CVD, known by many as heart disease, is actually a group of diseases. They may affect either your blood vessels or your heart; hypertension, atrial fibrillation and endocarditis and stroke are some common heart diseases. In the case of stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and ischemic heart disease (IHD), atherosclerosis is involved at some level.

What is Atherosclerosis? It is when your artery walls are becoming too thick, restricting blood flow. This can lead to many of the heart diseases just mentioned, including stroke. Atherosclerosis is also referred to as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD, and is often caused by an accumulation of white blood cells.

Atherosclerosis can be caused by any number of conditions or behaviors. If you suffer from a poor diet and nutrition, eating too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains and a lot of processed, fatty foods, can lead to obesity and high blood pressure. Those are the 2 leading causes of atherosclerosis, which can contribute to stroke and heart disease.

Doctors found that a very sedentary lifestyle accompanied by little exercise, smoking, high blood cholesterol, excessive alcohol consumption and diabetes can all lead to the thickening of your artery walls.

The Simplest Prevention for Stroke and Heart Disease. The easiest way to lower your chances or even prevent the development of heart disease or experiencing a stroke is through proper diet and exercise. When you eat sensibly (less salt, sugar, fried and fast foods, more fruits, whole grains and vegetables), your body automatically takes care of itself. The same is true with exercise, which helps regulate a healthy blood flow and oxygen movement throughout your body.

Those two preventive measures for stroke and heart disease also help boost your immune system. This means that your body is better prepared to fight all diseases and infections, not just those which attack your heart and blood flow. Especially if you have a history of heart problems in your family, start eating smart today. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week, standing and walking instead of sitting whenever you can. The benefits will be a longer, healthier life, and you may be able to avoid any type of heart condition all together