Heart Healthy In Her 80's

POSTED: 6:43 AM May 05 2012   UPDATED: 9:00 AM May 05 2012
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

Here on News Five we bring you stories the fifth of the month about women's heart heath.

It's our partnership with Wellmont Health System to Live Red for women.

This month we have an inspiring story of a woman who has become a model of what a healthy heart looks like.

Ruth Ketron pounds the pavement every day.

"Yesterday I did five miles on the treadmill and outside I went to North High School track and I did four miles there,"

Impressive, but it may not be surprising until you find out Ketron is 82 and is a master race walker.

"I was a champion for the last two years, 2010, 2011, for the USA Track and Field 5K for a female my age," says Ketron.

She doesn't take any heart medicine.

She says there's no need.

"I'm going to peck on wood so far. My heart has been really well and I think the exercise I do keeps it going," Ketron adds.

That's what Dr. Freddie Williams thinks, too.

She tells us running, even brisk walking is one of the best things women can do to keep a healthy heart.

"It really conditions the heart and lungs to process oxygen efficiently, pump blood efficiently. It has so many good effects on lowering blood pressure making our our arteries less stiff," adds Dr. Williams.

Doctors say you should get at least 30 minutes of some kind aerobic exercise a day, at least five days a week.

Also, stick to a heart healthy diet.

For champion Ruth Ketron, that's exactly what's on the menu, "I don't use much shortening. I don't use salt and I have to make myself eat meat because I know I have to, so I try to eat fish. I can eat it if i hold my nose."

So, when should you start?

Dr. Williams says as early as childhood.

When do you stop?

This 82-year-old doesn't have plans to stop anytime soon, "I love it. I love it, yes. All of it."

Doctors say to get the most out of your exercise you should get your heart rate up to 220 beats per minute minus your age.

Also, know your risk factors for heart disease.