YOUR Heart, YOUR Brain: Our Keys to Wellness - Medical secrets

BY DI WESTAWAY | CEO and Founder of Wild Women On Top

“Q; How fast does the Grim Reaper walk? 

A: 5 km per hour”

Dr Raymond Schwartz, Neurologist


Sitting in the Cardiologist’s office having a pressure cuff attached to my arm makes me a little nervous. I am about to find out the truth.

“You had coffee today?” the doctor asks.

“Er, yes, ummmmmmm……….. Four mugs & a coffee gelato.”  GULP.

“Aaahhh … mmmm … not good,” the Dr responds as he studies the wiggly lines on his screen. ...... I feel heart palpitations.


I am at the fabulous Gwinganna Health Retreat having a cutting edge non invasive Sphygmacor Test. It measures arterial stiffness, an indicator of cardiovascular health. The screens light up with graphs and I wait expectantly.

“Blood pressure a little up, but overall good … in fact … you have a cardiovascular age of 23,” he says. “Not bad for a 53 year old.”

“GOOD!” I reckon that’s bloody fantastic: All the puffing up hills and stairs, soft sand jogging and trek training have paid off. I feel young for the first time in years, in spite of what the mirror says.


Walking in nature can help control depression.

Over the next 48 hours, I have the great privilege of learning from some of Australia’s top medical minds. Dr Jason Kaplan, cardiologist, and Dr Raymond Schwartz, Neurologist, generously share their knowledge in the picturesque Gold Coast hinterland setting.

Key message number one from Dr Kaplan: Exercise is the single most important thing you can do for cardiovascular health. Number two: exercise and relaxation are the most powerful anti-depressants available.

And from Dr Schwartz: focus on mobility (exercise), mood (exercise), memory (brain exercise) and mates for optimal brain health. Schwartz also diplomatically suggests that pharmaceutical companies are more motivated by shareholder returns than health outcomes – a chilling admission from a script writing professional.


Wild Women On Top transforms lives.

Dr Kaplan explains that by the time patients get to him, they are highly motivated to live. He says he prescribes exercise because it gets the BEST results. He recommends a minimum of 20 minutes sustained (makes you “out of breath”) activity per day.

He also says you should spend 10 minutes a week in “all out” efforts (sprints); up to 30 minutes 1-3 times a week of brief intense sessions of full body functional movement (lift heavy objects); and 2-5 hours a week of hiking, walking, cycling or easy cardio.

Wow! Sounds Wild Women On Top Trek Training is the best medicine!

He also says we should:

  • Eat more fish – at least 3 times a week; fish oil 600mg DHA per day
  • Eat a handful of nuts a day: walnuts, almonds & brazil nuts
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet especially olive oil
  • Limit sugar to 100 cal a day & less than a teaspoon of salt
  • Be aware of family history
  • Develop close friendships, eat together and HUG often!
  • Sleep, meditate and breath: Relax

Dr Schwartz tells us that we need to be able to walk 5k per hour to keep the Grim Reaper away.

Congratulations to all our fabulous Wild Women who are taking responsibility for their health, using exercise as the first choice of drug, and sharing the buzz of Trek Training with your friends. It’s the BEST gift you can give a friend in need.


Wild Wishes, Di Westaway

CEO & Coach, Wild Women On Top

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