Thousands of Hudson Valley residents recently participated in the American Heart Association’s Start! Heart Walk at Lake Sebago Beach in Harriman State Park. The Heart Walk, held on the first day of May’s American Stroke Awareness Month, encourages Americans to “start” walking for their health. Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease.
Enjoying the sunshine and blue skies, walkers took to the three-mile route around Lake Sebago for their own hearts but also to raise funds for the programs and research activities of the American Heart Association. Walkers came from local company teams, schools, and community groups.
The event was held to honor local heart attack survivor, Jason Greenberg, MD. Walkers also walked in memory of loved ones who have been lost to heart disease and stroke including memorial honorees Allison Dunne and Robert Carpino.
Dunne had an undiagnosed heart condition, known as cardiomyopathy, causing her to die from cardiac arrest at age 34. Carpino was a 1992 Warwick High School grad and a USAF Airman First Class. He served in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He died at the age of 32 on August 1, 2006 from an enlarged heart when his daughter was only 4 ½ years old.
“Events like the Start! Heart Walk help promote our message of healthy lifestyles through exercise, and help raise important funding for programs and research,” said Tonya Addy, American Heart Association Executive Director, “We’re so grateful for the incredible community support of our mission to help save lives.”
The Start! Heart Walk event is part of a nationwide movement to get Americans walking. Walking can help manage cholesterol and type-2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure, lose weight and increase strength. And for every one hour of regular, vigorous exercise, you gain approximately two hours in life expectancy.
Scientific advances developed by American Heart Association-funded researchers and were made possible through events like the Start! Heart Walk. In New York State alone, 138 research studies totaling nearly $30 million will be funded by the American Heart Association this year.