Start! Walking...at Work

Start! Walking...at Work

(ARA)- According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and physical inactivity doubles a person's heart disease risk. Walking is one of the simplest ways people can improve their heart health - it's free and it has the lowest drop-out rate of any physical activity. Walking one hour a day can add two hours to a person's life and can reduce the risk of stroke, bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and blood pressure. Moreover, American companies pay $225.8 billion each year in health-related productivity losses. Incorporating 30 minutes of walking into every workday may help change the direction of these alarming health statistics.
A new movement is underway to promote walking and other heart-healthy habits in the workplace. The American Heart Association's (AHA) Start! Walking Program encourages Americans to live healthier, more active lives. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, with a strong legacy in developing cardiovascular medicines, is a proud sponsor of Start! and is leading a charge to encourage companies to promote physical activity for America's workforce.
"There is a need to create a new culture of physical activity in our country and turn illness into wellness," says Tony Zook, president and CEO, AstraZeneca U.S. "We understand this need and are committed to addressing it by investing in the health of our most valuable asset - our employees. Through Start!, we are excited to make strides to improve the healthcare of our employees, their families, and our local communities."
Through the program, corporations are asked to establish "walking routes" in the workplace, encourage employees to use them and celebrate those employees who go from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one. The campaign offers MyStart! Online Fitness Tools, which provide individuals with physical activity, nutrition and other health information available in a single online resource. These free tools allow visitors to track their physical activity and also provide healthy living tips.
AstraZeneca is a first-rate example of a Start! walking organization and has been named the first recipient of AHA's "Fit-Friendly Company" award, which recognizes companies that promote cultures of physical activity. In addition to offering nutritious food options in the multiple cafeterias on campus and on-site nutrition counselors, AstraZeneca has built indoor and outdoor walking paths and a fitness center to encourage employees to incorporate exercise into their workday.
To spread the word about the benefits of walking outside of the workplace, AstraZeneca will exhibit the Create Hope village at AHA Start! walks across the country. The village, which gives walkers an interactive and personalized health experience, also offers free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings and educational health information to help promote healthier lifestyles.
For more information about Start! please visit the AstraZeneca Web site, www-astrazeneca-us.com and type in Start!