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Rhonda Foulds, homemaker, Justin, Texas
"My life changed when I had a stroke two years ago. I had to quit running, because I was confined to a wheelchair, and my weight climbed to 240 pounds."
Change of Heart
"After slow progress in physical therapy, I was feeling discouraged -- until I saw a TV show about a man who lost both legs and went on to become a long-distance runner. Suddenly I felt grateful to have all my limbs. I started walking around the neighborhood slowly every day and was eventually able to run a few steps with my son."
A New Me
"Once I got active, I was inspired to clean up my diet. Yogurt, clementines, and almonds are in; toaster pastries, ramen, and hot dogs are out. My energy skyrocketed, so I started running regularly. One year later I had lost 100 pounds and finished a half-marathon!"
Lower Your Risk
Here's a scary stat: From 1994 to 2007 there was a 36 percent increase in hospitalization for strokes in women ages 35 to 44, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Luckily, there's plenty you can do to stay healthy. Start with this checklist.
Source: Ralph L. Sacco, MD, immediate past president of the American Heart Association and chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Miami