Healthier Me: Walking your way to a healthier heart

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A little exercise can go a long way toward a healthier life, even for people with serious heart disease.

"Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women, but a lot of the risk factors for heart disease are preventable," Sanford Cardiac Rehab Medical Fitness Manager Brad Hintermeyer says.

One way you can prevent heart disease is to get out and be active! The American Heart Association's Red River Valley Heart Walk is giving people in our area a chance to do that.

"The heart walk is just another event or way to get our heart patients out and do something healthy for them," Hintermeyer says.

Those who are already suffering from heart disease, experts say it's normal to feel afraid and unsure of the future, but the key is to stay active.

"You are scared and nervous about what your heart can do and through cardiac rehab programs, we are able to see them build confidence, get stronger and return to the things they want to do," Hintermeyer says.

Age and family history are some risk factors we can't change, however there are others that can make our heart stronger. For starters, incorporate heart healthy foods into your diet.

"Trying to eat whole foods, healthy foods likefruits and vegetables, lean meats, complex grains, trying to minimize your salt intake and trying to reduce the amount of sugar that we get in," Hintermeyer says.

Also make sure you are getting enough sleep and managing your stress level.

"I'm very excited about it and we'll have some of our heart patient, so i'll be walking with them and I am proud of them for doing this activity," Hintermeyer says.

The Red River Valley Heart Walk starts at 5 pm on Thursday September 28th at Island Park.