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National Walking Day Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Reported: Apr. 2, 2014 10:46 AM EDT
Updated: Apr. 2, 2014 12:45 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) – Wednesday is National Walking Day and the American Heart Association is encouraging people to lace up their sneakers and go for a 30-minute walk.

Kevin Pauley, communications director for the American Heart Association, and knows firsthand the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.

"I have made major improvements in my health just trying to get walking in and I'll tell you what, I've done two 5Ks,” Pauley said. “I would have never thought in my entire life I would have ever done a 5K and enjoyed it."

And Pauley said it all started with something as simple as walking.

"It can be 30 minutes and it doesn't have to be all at once,” he said. “Ten minutes in the morning, 10 on your lunch break, 10 in the evening and boom you're done. But in doing that you start to get yourself into a different mindset, a healthier mindset. And that 30 minutes a day, five days a week can suddenly add up to helping you drop weight, lower your bad cholesterol and lower your blood pressure."

Those health problems are prevalent in West Virginia and in high numbers. In fact, the Mountain State leads the country in the number of people with heart disease. Statistics show that every one in two men and every one in three women are at risk for heart disease. Taking just 30 minutes out of your day to walk and get some exercise can cut those risks dramatically.

Amy Bauguess, director of cardiovascular services at Thomas Memorial Hospital, sees a number of patients who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

"A lot of these things can be prevented if we just pay a little more attention to our bodies and what we need,” Bauguess said. “Eat healthier, get a little more exercise. I think it could be avoided."

The easiest way to avoid it is by taking one step at a time and one foot in front of the other, walking toward a more active and healthier lifestyle.



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