Hundreds of Howard County area residents are expected to join the Howard County Heart Walk on Saturday, September 22nd and add their calorie donation to the American Heart Association’s Billion Calorie Count-UP. The annual event, which raises funds to fight heart disease and stroke, America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers, begins at 9 am at Centennial Park in Howard County.
The non-competitive, three-mile walk includes teams of employees from local companies, along with friends and family members of all ages. “For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy may increase for some adults by two hours,” said Molly Shattuck, Founder and CEO of Molly Shattuck Vibrant Living. “That’s a ‘healthy’ return on investment, and one that we hope will inspire participants to take up walking regularly using American Heart Association Walking Paths and Walking Clubs.”
Heart Walk participants will experience three “communities” that feature relevant resources and activities.
The “My Heart” community will:
• Foster hope by bringing together people with similar experiences, sorrows and fears.
• Allow people to acknowledge their losses and pay tribute to loved ones.
• Provide an opportunity to honor survivors and individuals whose family and friends have been impacted by heart disease and stroke.
• Give survivors hope that they can influence their own and their loved ones’ destinies by connecting risk factors to a personal loss.
The “My Life” community will:
• Inspire participants to make changes in their daily behavior that reduce risk for heart disease and stroke, such as increasing physical activity and making heart-healthy choices a part of daily life.
• Inspire participants to make a long-term commitment in the fight against heart disease and stroke by volunteering for the American Heart Association.
The “My Community” area will:
• Celebrate individuals and companies that have made significant changes to lead a heart-healthy life (e.g., by being more active, losing weight, etc.) or encourage employees to lead a healthier life.
• Highlight the successful fund-raising efforts of individuals and companies.
In addition, participants will enjoy Zumba, kids zone, free educational materials, giveaways and more. Each day, nearly 2,400 Americans die from a cardiovascular disease. That’s an average of one death every 37 seconds. A leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke is lack of physical activity. Research has shown walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. The benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for as little as 30 minutes each day can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The annual success of the Greater Maryland Heart Walk is due in part to presenting sponsor Subway, Jenny Craig, CareFirst and media sponsor, Fox 45. For information on participating in the Heart Walk, call the American Heart Association at 410-637-4569 or visit www.greaterbaltimoreheartwalk.org.