Written by Valencia Weeks

February is National Heart Month, and if you missed wearing your RED on February 5th (National Wear Red Day with Go Red for Women), you can make up for. Find a cute lil’ red outfit and wear it like you mean it. As a matter of fact, treat yourself to a new “red” dress as a reward for having such a great workout week.

This is to the busy woman…the one too busy to work fitness into the every day schedule. Did you know that The American Association indicates?

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for African American women.

Of African American women ages 20 and older, 46.9 percent have cardiovascular disease.

Only 1 in 5 African American women thinks she is personally at risk.

Nearly 50 percent of African American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

Only 43 percent of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.

Still too busy? Well, let us help you out.

Regular daily exercise helps to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 30 to 45 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week can make a “life saving” difference.

Maintaining healthy weight
Ideal inches for the waist for women is less than 35 inches. Healthy weight loss is 1 to 3 pounds a month.

Don’t smoke
Smoking restricts blood vessels and makes our hearts work harder.

If the above statistics didn’t convince you that making time for physical fitness can be a matter of life and death, maybe imagining yourself with the signs of a heart attack will.

Signs of a Heart Attack
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Ladies, I said all of that to say this. As nurturers, we look out for the dog, the cat…even the husband and the kids. Our #1 person to neglect is “ME”. Let’s have a conversation with self, telling her how important physical exercise is for her heart and other important organs.