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Tips for a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

ATLANTA—Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and in the world, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Oftentimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” heart disease is also the leading cause of death for women in the United States – accounting for one in every four female deaths in 2009 as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The silver lining is that living a healthier lifestyle is only a few good choices away. In celebration of American Heart Month in February, Maid Brigade – the nation’s residential cleaning leader – shares simple ways to maintain a “heart healthy” lifestyle.

Get informed
An AHA survey of U.S. adults found that most people don’t connect important risk factors, such as poor diet and physical inactivity, with heart disease and stroke. It’s important to educate yourself on risk factors and also new health information that becomes available. For example, recent studies have found that unlike men, whose main symptom for heart attacks is chest pain, symptoms of a heart attack among women can include: light-headedness, unusual shortness of breath, unusual fatigue/weakness, sharp pain in the next, back, shoulder blade, or jaw, cold sweats, and nausea.

Stay active
Nearly 70% of Americans do not get the physical activity they need, as found by the AHA. Daily physical activity adds years on to your life and increases your overall quality of life. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, five times per week. This lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition to the health benefits, physically active people nearly always report improved moods, increased energy, decreased stress, and a more positive outlook on life. For women especially – whose mental stress and depression affect their hearts more than men’s according to findings from the Mayo Clinic – living an active lifestyle is crucial.

Eat right
A proper diet is one of the best offenses for fighting cardiovascular disease. To get started, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, eat plenty of whole grains and legumes, and reduce your intake of fatty foods. The AHA reports that a “heart healthy” diet consists of foods low in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars, and foods high in whole grain fiber, lean protein, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Carve out “me time”
You’re not alone – the majority of Americans, and women especially, feel over-scheduled and over-burdened. It’s important though to take time out of your busy day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Consider delegating some of your household responsibilities to service providers like professional organizers, cleaners, grocery delivery services, babysitters, and others that free up valuable time to get in your daily exercise, effectively cope with stress, and inspire you to make the time to get healthy.

“As a mother of three, I know how challenging it is to find time to do it all,” says Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for Maid Brigade. “But it’s up to us and only us to make our health a priority over life’s other demands. Thankfully, by making a few lifestyle changes, we are also the cure for heart disease.”

Maid Brigade is encouraging you to get healthy in honor of American Heart Month. Throughout the month of February, share your “heart healthy” tips with us at facebook.com/maidbrigade or @maidbrigade. One lucky winner will receive a free green house cleaning from his/her local Maid Brigade valued at $150!”