To help Americans build healthy lifestyles and incorporate walking exercise into their daily schedules, the American Heart Association has launched a StartWalkingNow campaign, via its website: StartWalkingNow.org. The campaign includes suggestions of walking paths in your area that can be accessed via an interactive tool on the StartWalkingNow.org website or via an application that can be downloaded to your mobile phone.
“Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, observed in a recent e-mail announcing the campaign.
“Research shows that even moderate exercise such as walking can reduce your incidence of heart disease; however, only 15 percent of American adults achieve the American Heart Association’s recommended levels of physical activity,” Ms. Brown noted.
“Walking vigorously for as little as 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, can promote weight loss, decrease the risk of coronary heart disease, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” Ms. Brown said.
Tools to Help You Start!
The American Heart Association’s StartWalkingNow.org website includes a suite of free tools to promote healthy living (registration is required to access some of them).
Suggested Walking Paths. Among the free resources provided is an interactive tool to help you find suggested walking paths in your area. You enter your State, zip code, type of path you prefer (e.g. downtown, neighborhood, shopping mall, parks & recreation trail, etc.), difficulty level (you can select Easy, Moderate or High), and desired path distance (less than 1 mile, 1-3 miles, 3-6 miles, or more than 6 miles), and the tool provides you a number of suggested paths meeting your criteria, with maps showing the suggested routes.
The site also provides a smart phone application (available for either iPhones or Android phones) that allows you to access the walking paths tool from your mobile phone.
The American Heart Association has designated Start! Walking Paths across the nation in parks, around downtown, in shopping malls, airports and other areas, which are marked by signs like the one shown at right.
The Association provides a Walking Path How-To Guide explaining how you can find, evaluate and map your own walking paths, mark them on your smart phone, and suggest them to others. If your path is approved by the Association, you can get permission to post signs like the one at right, marking your path for others.
Healthy Diet. To help you establish and maintain a healthy diet, the site provides a number of resources and Tools for Healthier Eating. These include Heart Healthy Recipes, a Grocery List Builder, Nutition Quizzes, a link to the USDA National Nutrition Data Base to learn the calories and nutritional information about the foods you are eating, and other information resources.
Tracking Tool. StartWalkingNow.org also provides an online Tracker tool to help you track your progress toward your exercise and healthy diet goals.
Employer Tools to Promote Health of Employees. In addition, the site provides Start! In the Workplace resources for employers, suggesting ways to incorporate wellness programs in the workplace, promoting health of employees.
Tips from the American Heart Association to Help You Build a Healthy Lifestyle.
Here are a few suggested ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle, provided by the American Heart Association, with references to additional tools and resources provided by the Association:
• Sign a pledge to lead a healthier life at your local American Heart Association Heart Walk. Keep motivated by putting your pledge card on your refrigerator to remind yourself of your promise to live heart healthy. For more information, visit www.heartwalk.org.
• Join your company team or start a team of your own. Either way, you can help make a difference in people’s lives – including your own. Visit www.heartwalk.org to join a team.
• Keeping a record of your progress can also help keep you motivated and AHA has some great tools to help you keep your physical activity program on the move. To document your weight, blood pressure and get more information on heart disease sign up today at www.heart360.org.
• Get your personal heart score a custom plan with the seven simple steps you need to live better. Visit www.mylifecheck.org for more information.
• Keep track of how much you move with our pedometer, great for the office, home, or running errands! Find this and other great products that can help you stay in step with heart health at shop.heart.org.”
The American Heart Association is a national non-profit organization whose “mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”
The Association indicates that “Funding from donors has helped to create walking paths in your community and across the country, as well as provided people with online resources such as exercise plans and other ways to get active and stay active,” and invites donations to support its efforts.
As well as:
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