Adults are spending more time at work than ever before - including more time at computers and desks with less time being active. As a nation, we are becoming more inactive. Studies have shown that people who have a low level of activity double their risk of heart disease.
“The good news is you can start to fix the problem by encouraging your family, community and company to get moving” said Dr. Richard Howard, board certified interventional cardiologist with Sanford Health and medical chair of the Bismarck/Mandan Heart Walk. “I daily discuss exercise programs with my patients and frequently encourage the use of pedometers as an inexpensive, easy to use way to measure his/her baseline activity and set goals to increase steps little by little”.
On April 1, National Walking Day, we encouraged Americans to lace up their sneakers and take 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk. It was a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to get on the right path to a healthier way of life. Statistics show people stick to walking plans more than any other form of physical activity. Walking is free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and can be done just about anywhere.
The American Heart Association recommends adults strive for 150 minutes of physical activity per week, while kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Thirty minutes five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You’ll benefit even if you divide your time into two or three sessions per day of 10 to 15 minutes each.
If you don’t think you’ll make it of 30 minutes, set a more reachable goal. You can work up toward your overall goal by increasing your time each week as you get stronger. Remember, something is always better than nothing. Don’t let all-or-nothing thinking keep you from doing what you can every day.
In addition to taking time out of your day to get up and walk, consider forming a team to participate in one of the local American Heart Association North Dakota Heart Walks in May. You can form a team with friends, family, neighbors or co-workers. The event is an opportunity for people to improve their health and simultaneously raise funds to help fight heart disease and stroke. It is a fun family environment that promotes heart-healthy living (healthy cooking demonstrations, kids zone, health screenings, survivor story, etc.)
North Dakota Heart Walks:
To find the North Dakota Heart Walk near you go to www.heart.org/NorthDakota
For more information about walking and living a healthy lifestyle visit: www.heart.org/physicalactivity.