Healthy Hollywood: Try It On Tuesday – Vanessa Williams’ Heart-Healthy Lifestyle!

The award-winning actress, Vanessa Williams, wants women everywhere to take better care of their heart. The multi-talented star has teamed up with Bayer HealthCare and WomenHeart to launch Handbags & Hearts. It is a national campaign to raise awareness on women and heart health. Their goal is to motivate women to carry aspirin in their bags at all times. In the event of a sudden heart attack, taking an aspirin can greatly reduce muscle damage and the risk of dying.

This heart healthy campaign is very personal to Vanessa. “My Grandmother died of a heart attack at 28. My other Grandma died at 64. Luckily both my parents have outlived their parents in terms of heart health. But, it’s always one of those things looming in my household. So, I’ve done the Red Dress [heart healthy fashion charity] and I’ve done a lot of heart-centric initiatives,” reveals Vanessa to Healthy Hollywood.

Healthy Hollywood caught up with Vanessa the other day in New York City. She’s appearing on Broadway in the Tony-nominated show “The Trip to Bountiful” and loves every moment on stage. “This production is joyous and raucous at times, but people are always leaving wanting more. The stage can be grind but when the work is rewarding I don’t mind.”

At 50, this mom of 4, looks sensational. She reveals to Healthy Hollywood she works hard to stay in shape and take care of her health. “I’ve danced my whole life. As an adult, I work out all the time and cardio is one of my big things because I want to make sure my heart muscles are strong.”

Heart attacks take the lives of 250,000 women each year and Vanessa believes exercise is a key preventative. “You’ve got to take the time to work out.” Besides, dance, the singer-actress loves to mix it up. Her favorite exercise is heavy bag class, which is combo of boot camp and boxing. “It’s fantastic. I do yoga. I’ve done zumba and will do the treadmill, but it’s great to have my mind in another place. It’s stimulating. After taking a heavy bag class, I always come relaxed and happy.”

As for busy women, who say they can’t fit exercise into their schedule, Vanessa recommends investing in a treadmill. “You don’t have to worry about the weather. If you can watch TV for an hour, you can do it while walking on a treadmill. You don’t have to run, just do something for an hour and you will see and feel the difference. Those endorphins will kick and boost your vitality.” Can’t afford a treadmill? Than just get outside and talk a walk – just do something!

Handbags & Hearts campaign is a life-saver. The campaign hopes to raise over $200,000 and increase awareness among the 42 million women with or at risk of heart disease. Take heart and check it out for yourself or that special woman in your life at

-- Terri MacLeod

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