A Valentine’s Gift to Yourself: Start Walking Your Way to 5K

I think it’s very appropriate that Valentine’s Day is right in the middle of the month of February, also known as American Heart Month, don’t you? Today is when we are expected to give gifts of candy, cards, and flowers to loved ones… but American Heart Month reminds us that we should also give a gift to ourselves: A HEALTHY HEART!

Candy aside, there are many wonderful ways to indulge your sweetheart with a heart-healthy gift, but I think today is a good time to realize that you deserve to take care of your own heart.

Taking care of your own heart is just as important as taking care of the hearts of those you love. And what better way is there to take care of your heart than to EXERCISE! Did you realize that by exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day you can improve the health of your heart? It’s true! This includes my favorite exercise: brisk walking.

Join me in Grand Rapids and Work Your Way up to 5K

In fact, the American Heart Association advises: “Walk more. Eat better. Live a longer, healthier life.” I completely agree, after all … I am living it! I want you to live it too! Dare to take the first step as I invite you to begin a 12-week walking program to help prepare you to participate in the Fifth Third 5K Walk, May 14, 2011.

The Fifth Third River Bank Run 10,000 Steps Challenge (brought to you by Blue Care Network of Michigan and B-93.7 “New Country & All-Time Favorites”) is a program to allow you to slowly increase your daily steps to help improve your heart’s health and get you ready for a 3.1 mile walk – a 5K. For twelve weeks I suggest you attempt to take 10,000 steps daily, which begins with a 10-minute non-stop brisk walk increasing as the weeks continue. Each Sunday you will walk at least 20 minutes, striving for a full 60 minutes toward the end of the challenge.

It really is a great time of the year to begin a daily walking routine, not only for your heart but also because Summer will be here before you know it: tank tops, shorts, bathing suits, and summer activities are right around the corner. You’ve promised yourself each year that you would become healthier – now it’s time to keep that promise.

I suggest you wear a pedometer every day, making sure to clip it on as soon as you are dressed for the day. Please remember that approximately 2,000 steps equal one mile and can be covered in 15 minutes if you walk non-stop. Do your personal best to keep a positive attitude and focus on how great these steps makes you feel, don’t worry if you don’t hit the 10,000 steps … just try a little harder the next day!

If you want a little extra motivation, please make sure to visit me at the Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on March 2, at 8 a.m., and wear your favorite walking shoes! I will do my best to get you motivated, share my personal walking weight-loss story with you, and keep you in step as you focus on a healthier life – a healthier heart!

I love my heart and I love yours too – not only on Valentine’s Day … always!

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