Aaron Bishop talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to heart health awareness.
“At age 11, I lost a brother who was born with a heart defect, so I became passionate at a young age about heart health,” says Aaron Bishop, Vice President of the Metro Birmingham Area for the American Heart Association. Now, Bishop encourages Birmingham residents to attend the Birmingham Heart Walk on June 30, marking the event’s 20th year hosted in Birmingham.
“The Birmingham Heart Walk is really about raising awareness for how physical activity can make a tremendous impact on cardiovascular health,” says Matt Hooper, Communications Director for the Birmingham Metro AHA. Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Alabama, accounting for 30% of all deaths.
The AHA has a goal and you should, too. “Our impact goal is to improve nationwide cardiovascular health by 20% before 2020,” says Bishop. To give you a little perspective: if the goal is met, that’s virtually 200 lives saved per day, nationwide. The AHA recommends setting small, achievable goals to reach ideal cardiovascular health.
Make simple changes. “You can easily trade a soda for a glass of water,” says Hooper. “You can trade a donut for a piece of fruit or maybe trade fast food for something healthier you can prepare at home. It’s all about making simple lifestyle choices.”
Take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Bishop suggests you try the Simple 7: Get active, control cholesterol, eat better, manage blood pressure, lose weight, reduce blood sugar and stop smoking. “Even if you’re not in great shape, you can start doing some sort of physical activity,” says Hooper, “whether it’s starting with a slow-paced walk and building up to a brisk walk or lifting some weights you have lying around the house.”
Pass on healthy exercise and eating habits. “It’s never too early to learn about heart health,” says Bishop. Currently, 1/3 of children are overweight or obese, putting them at a much higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Bishop suggests that parents teach healthy eating habits at an early age and encourage children to participate in physical activities.
Walk the Birmingham Heart Walk. Join Bishop and thousands of other advocates to spread awareness for cardiovascular health at The Birmingham Heart Walk on June 30. The event will be held in Linn Park from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Heart Walk/5K Race will begin at 9:00. Admission is free to the general public and will feature family-friendly activities.
by Sloane Hudson
To learn more about the Birmingham Heart Walk, click here.
To learn more about the American Heart Association, click here.
This article written and brought to you by BirminghamDoctors.com.