Take part in National Start Walking Day

The San Francisco Bay Area Celebrates National Start! Walking Day April 8

11:45 a.m. at Santana Row's Park Valencia, San Jose
Legendary San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young, current San Francisco 49er Safety Michael Lewis, San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra, and Mountain View cardiologist Dr. Neal Scott headline the celebration. The public is invited to join in for a group zumba warm-up (led by Susan Armenta of the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative), grab some heart-healthy goodies and learn about why these local leaders take fitness to heart. Throughout the day, representatives from corporate Heart Walk teams will engage in challenges on tandem treadmills from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What will be happening? Special guests (including Young, Lewis, Kalra, Scott, local business leaders and others) will be introduced in pairs. They will be walking on tandem treadmills, showing how easy it is to do three 10-minute segments to fulfill that 30-minute a day exercise goal.

What is National Start Walking Day? National Start! Walking Day is the American Heart Association's nationwide call to action for Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle and walk just 30 minutes a day. Bay Area participants at Santana Row and several other locations will join thousands across the nation as they wear their sneakers to work April 8 and pledge to start a healthier lifestyle as part of this fun event-with-a-purpose.

This is one of several Bay Area events open to the public. Including:

  • Noon - 1 p.m., Stoneridge Shopping Center, at the intersection of Interstates 580 and 680, Pleasanton

  • Noon-1 p.m., San Mateo County Building, 455 County Center, Redwood City

  • Noon - Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, with walkers continuing along the Embarcadero toward Pier 39

  • 12:30 p.m., Hillsdale Shopping Center, 60 31st Ave., San Mateo

    Background information and statistics:
    National Start! Walking Day is a nationwide call to action for Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle through walking. Research has shown that you can gain two hours of life expectancy for every one hour of regular exercise you do - even if you start in middle age. The American Heart Association wants Americans to become more physically active by walking because:

  • Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the nation's leading cause of death and disability, with 1.26 million Americans suffering a new or recurrent coronary attack each year and 795,000 suffering a new and recurrent stroke

  • Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease, including lost productivity, are estimated to be $475.3 billion in 2009

  • Regular physical activity reduces cardiovascular disease risk and increases life expectancy

  • The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association recognize the many health benefits of physical activity, including lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and recommend that children and adolescents do one hour of physical activity or more each day and adults do two and a half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week

  • Regular walking has many proven benefits for an individual's overall health. Brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day can lower both bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and high blood pressure. It can also help individuals who are overweight achieve and maintain weight loss, and reduce their risk of stroke

  • If 10 percent of Americans began a regular walking program, $5.6 billion in heart disease costs could be saved

  • Studies indicate that one of the best investments a company can make is in the health of its employees. By promoting a culture of physical activity, corporate America can decrease healthcare costs, increase productivity, and improve the quality of life and longevity of the U.S. workforce.

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