Today is the perfect day to start walking 30 minutes a day for heart health, according to the American Heart Association and the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
April 4 is National Walking Day, an annual observance championed by the American Heart Association (AHA) and its partners to raise awareness of the cardiovascular benefits of walking. National Walking Day is part of the AHA's national initiative, My Heart. My Life, which encourages lifelong heart-healthy habits through comprehensive programs, tools and resources.
The CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess is a local sponsor of the AHA's National Walking Day and its Boston Heart Walk, as well as presenter of the BIDMC Walking Club.
Lowest Dropout Rate
The partners encourage walking because it has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. Studies show that some adults may gain as many as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity.
"Our cardiologists urge our patients - and everyone else who is physically able -- to walk 30 minutes every day," said Mark E. Josephson, MD, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC. "Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle because it reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, our nation's No. 1 killer."
To encourage more people to walk, the CardioVascular Institute sponsors the BIDMC Walking Club, a comprehensive, online walking resource for individuals, companies, schools and BIDMC employees. Free downloadable kits prepared by BIDMC experts may be found at bidmc.org/walking. The BIDMC Walking Club also offers a free app that converts smart phones into pedometers and a free walking prescription generator to help individuals design their walking programs.
Walk Your Way to the Heart Walk
"Start walking today," said Loryn Feinberg, MD, another CVI cardiologist who is medical director of the Women's Cardiovascular Program. "We encourage you to walk through the spring and summer and then participate in the American Heart Association's Boston Heart Walk on Sept.15th. In that way you can improve your own health while supporting cardiovascular research."
The American Heart Association's My Heart. My Life. program provides key resources to help companies and individuals get started with a walking program at www.startwalkingnow.org, according to Nicole Ferrante, director of the Boston heart Walk. Resources include fitness trackers, walking path tools, print/email resources, and company recognition through the Fit Friendly Companies Recognition Program, rewarding employers who champion the health of their employees.
My Heart.My Life. is sponsored nationally by SUBWAY® Restaurants, Jenny Craig. For more information, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit startwalkingnow.org.