Hundreds of South Dakotans are expected to join the Black Hills and Central South Dakota Heart Walk events on September 16 and September 23 respectively, to raise funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death in the world. Both annual events are non-competitive, one-mile and three-mile walks including teams of employees from local companies, along with friends and family members of all ages.
“Staying active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease and improve your personal well-being,” said Dr. Drew Purdy, a cardiologist with Rapid City Regional Health. “As little as 30 minutes each day of moderate physical activity – like walking – have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It's enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It's easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.
“We want people to know that it is never too late to start down a healthier path,” said Dr. Purdy. “Our hope is that the Heart Walk will inspire participants to be healthy for good, jump-start a culture of healthy living, and increase passion for supporting the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association.”
The American Heart Association will be recognizing individuals who have made positive changes to improve their quality of life and health with the Lifestyle Change Awards. Nominations are now open for this honor. Achievements can include positive changes in one or more heart healthy areas, including diet, physical activity and overall wellness. Awardees are chosen based on criteria evaluating the significance of the change that was achieved; any obstacles that were surpassed in achieving the goal; and the power that positive lifestyle change had not only on the individual achieving it but also those around him/her (i.e. family, friends, co-workers, community).
Heart Walk participants also will enjoy the Heart Festival, which includes kids activities, healthy snacks, educational booths, and more. The Heart Walk is a free event and is open to the public.