Reader Submitted

Take a walk April 3 for a healthy heart

Friday, March 29, 2013

The American Heart Association is calling on New Hampshire residents to walk for 30 minutes on Wednesday, April 3 – National Walking Day.

Residents are encouraged to walk at work, at home or visit many regional walking paths, parks and other walker-friendly sites to celebrate spring and walk for their hearts.

National Walking Day is part of the American Heart Association’s national healthy living initiative, “My Heart. My Life,” which offers a simple set of solutions that focus on improving nutrition, physical activity and children’s health. The American Heart Association is working to help individuals and families understand how to make incremental changes for a substantial long-term health impact.

National Walking Day encourages walking as the exercise of choice because it has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. Physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease, our nation’s No. 1 killer. The American Heart Association encourages employees to walk at work to adopt a heart-healthy work style. Studies show that some adults may gain as many as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity.

“At 46 years old, I know that if I am to lead an active life at 65 or, in the case of my Dad, 83, then my choices and actions today are critical,” said Jeff Photiades, wealth management adviser at Northwestern Mutual and 2013 Chairman of the N.H. Heart Walk on June 8.

“It is less about a sophisticated routine than it is the routine and habit itself. Within our organization, exercise is discussed, encouraged and supported. We know we are impacting individuals’ futures. Two additional hours for each hour I exercise today, I am certain, will be important to me when I reach age 83. That’s what my Dad says.” A person is 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have coronary heart disease if he or she is inactive, but walking vigorously for 30 minutes a day can help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly – that’s about 20 minutes every day.

The American Heart Association’s “My Heart. My Life” program offers key resources to help companies and individuals get started with a walking program at www.startwalkingnow.org. To join the New Hampshire Heart Walk, visit www.nh heartwalk.org

“My Heart. My Life.” is sponsored nationally by Subway Restaurants and Jenny Craig, and locally by Northwestern Mutual, Hannaford, Brookstone, Concentra, Parkland Medical Center, The Union Leader, WMUR, and 96.5 The Mill.

– Submitted by Audra Burns, of Merrimack, regional director of communications for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association

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