Walk Your Way to a Healthy Heart

ngos diseases healthy lifestyle
Monday, 30 September, 2013 - 14:25

As we commemorate the World Heart Day, few people know that by walking briskly for only 30 minutes five times a week, they can increase their life expectancy and vastly reduce their chances of developing heart disease

Most people do not know that only a little bit of walking each day can have huge health benefits - and possibly even save their lives. According to a new international study done by the World Heart Federation, one in four people do not know how much they walk each day. Yet just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week, is enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This World Heart Day - on 29 September 2013- the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa reminds the public that 130 heart attacks occur daily in South Africa. Non-communicable diseases (like heart disease and stroke) are the number one killer of South Africans after HIV/AIDS.
“It is deeply concerning to us that so many South Africans are unaware of the need to look after their health, and more particularly, their heart,” says Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSF). “The benefits of being physically active are well-documented and medically proven. Not only does it reduce your risk of developing heart disease but can also lessen your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke if you already have heart disease.”
Dr Mungal-Singh will be speaking at a World Heart Day event at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg on Sunday, 29 September 2013 to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease. Presented by Nestlé, the SABC3 TV show Doctor’s Orders and comedian Riaad Moosa, the day will be packed with activities to raise our awareness of heart health, such as free heart health screenings where cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose will be checked. The day also includes laughter Yoga sessions and Resistance Bands Exercises presented by lifestyle and wellness expert Lisa Raleigh.
The World Heart Federation study was conducted across Brazil, China, India, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America and revealed that more than a quarter of those interviewed did not know how much time they spent walking briskly. It showed that between 14 and 37 percent of adults do not pay attention to one of the simplest things people can do to protect their health – walking.
A recent national health survey showed that South Africans – just like their global counterparts – are not active enough. It revealed that over a quarter of men and almost half of women were physically unfit.
Walking is cheap and probably the most broadly accessible form of physical activity in the world. Even 15 minutes of moderate exercise (which includes brisk walking) can have significant health benefits and add up to three years to life expectancy, says the Federation. It has called on men, women and children of all age groups to increase their physical activity to improve the health of their heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The global survey also showed that people in developed countries do less brisk walking than those in developing nations. The Federation says studies showed that people who wear pedometers increase their physical activity by almost 27 percent.
The World Health Organisation says up to 80 percent of deaths due to heart disease could be prevented by people making healthy lifestyle choices. “The best thing you can do for your heart is to live a healthy lifestyle. By simply cutting down on your alcohol intake, not smoking, eating well and increasing your physical activity you can significantly reduce your chances of having a heart attack or smoke,” says Dr Mungal-Singh.
September is Heart Awareness Month and to raise awareness around heart disease, the Foundation in partnership with Clicks is offering free heart health screenings at Clicks Clinics throughout South Africa up until 30 September 2013. The screening includes a blood cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and body mass index test. To book visit www.clicks.co.za or call 0860 CLICKS/254 257. Screenings by appointment only.  
- Issued by: Rothko PR on behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa. 

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