On Wednesday, April 1, thousands of people across the country stepped out for National Walking Day, making an effort to break the trend of sedentary lifestyles and committing to a more active routine. In Boston, we celebrated the day by teaming up with the Cardiovascular Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to honor three local residents who have committed to dramatic lifestyle changes this past year with the 2nd Annual Lifestyle Change Awards.
The three individuals chosen for this year’s awards included Paul Grizey of Watertown and Patricia Mallios of Worcester, who having both witnessed family members pass away from heart attacks, took control of their own health through exercise and healthy eating. 13 year-old Joshua Diaz of Dorchester was also recognized for his commitment to walking and leadership as a healthy role model at the Timilty Middle School in Boston.
“These individuals have saved their lives through their lifestyle changes, and they want to help others to do the same,” said Dr. Kamal Khabbaz, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at BIDMC’s CardioVascular Institute and Chair of BIDMC’s 2015 Heart Walk Campaign, who served a co-presenter of the awards ceremony. “These people are important role models to others.”
These days, we’re spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before. We’re becoming less active, which can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases. National Walking Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and to get your family, friends and co-workers on the right path to a healthier way of life as we step into spring. Statistics show people stick to walking plans more than any other form of physical activity and walking is one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke – the nation’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.
Walking has many health benefits, which makes National Walking Day the ideal time to kick-start your physical activity routine. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity (such as brisk walking) per week, while kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
For more information about walking and living a healthy lifestyle visit: www.heart.org/physicalactivity.