More than 300 participants of the McCracken County Heart Walk take a lap around Noble Park in September. The American Heart Association's new My Heart, My Life campaign seeks to promote year-round activity and proper nutrition, with the heart walks as catalysts for starting a heart-healthy lifestyle.
As heart disease and stroke remain among the nation’s leading killers, health officials continue to stress the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.
And for those people looking to start, this weekend’s Heart Walk could offer the first steps on a path to healthy living.
With more than 250 Calloway County residents and 25 local teams expected to take to Murray State University’s campus on Saturday for the annual American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, the non-competitive walk seeks to promote awareness for cardiovascular disease and jump start healthy decisions.
“It’s a great time of year if people haven’t really done any activity yet, for them to start getting active,” said Jamie Smith, AHA division director. “So many people have sedentary jobs, it’s important as a company, too, to focus on employee health.”
As part of the heart association’s national My Heart, My Life behavior campaign, the organization calls on all Americans to create and embrace an overall healthier lifestyle in order to improve cardiovascular health, said Matt Rountree, communications director with the heart association.
Inactivity can double the risk of heart disease and nearly 70 percent of Americans do not engage in regular physical activity, the heart association reported.
The new My Heart, My Life campaign hopes to improve American’s cardiovascular health by 20 percent and reduce attributed deaths by 20 percent by the year 2020.
As part of the campaign, the heart association’s website offers visitors a new breakdown of individualized health report cards which grade people’s heart healthy lifestyles and highlights areas of improvement.
Rountree said the private survey takes only 5 minutes to complete and asks basic questions, such as the amount of exercise someone receives or their frequency of smoking. The survey compiles the data and shows the test-taker where they need improvement or highlights risk factors.
Visit the online survey at www.heart.org/mylifecheck.
While the new campaign is a year-long effort, the Heart Walks are a perfect catalyst for starting to live healthier, Rountree said.
“To improve cardiovascular health we need to focus on exercise every day,” he said. “Physical activity and proper nutrition can really make an impact in our daily lives.”
Opening events for this year’s walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the walk, itself, will start at 9:30 a.m. at the CFSB Center on Murray State’s campus.
Participants can either walk a 1- or 3-mile course through campus. Music, activities and heart healthy food will be available, as well as information about healthy lifestyles.
Call Will Pinkston, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.