Walk for Life keeps hearts healthy

Jodi Schellenberg
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With the majority of people at risk for heart disease, the Fitlife Program is working to change that.

The Walk for Life will be held this year on Sept. 6 at the Harry Jerome track. This year, there will also be a health fair to talk about cardiac health and the risks of developing heart disease.

A Walk for Life and health fair will be held at the Harry Jerome track on Sept. 6, to raise both funds and awareness for cardiac rehabilitation. It is done in conjunction with the Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada.

“We have done it the last couple of years and this year is our third annual walk,” said Dean Gaudet, exercise therapist for the Fitlife Program. “All the funds we actually raise stay with our program here in Prince Albert -- none of it goes nationally.”

The money raised has helped the organization purchase equipment in the past, such as exercise equipment, medical monitors and other cardiac health-related items.

“In the last few years we have probably spent $20,000 on equipment that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” Gaudet said.

Heart health is an important topic because, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, nine out of 10 people in Saskatchewan have at least one major risk factor for developing heart disease, Gaudet said.

“We know even in Prince Albert there are lots of people that already have heart disease or already have diabetes or already have high blood pressure or cholesterol,” he said. “All of these things in turn can lead to having a heart attack or some form of heart disease.”

There are also some other factors that could contribute to someone developing heart disease.

“We also know there are genetic components so if one person has it, probably some of the other family members are at risk,” Gaudet said. “All those webs that tie together potentially lead to (having to go to) cardiac rehab or having a heart incident.”

The health fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Gaudet encourages everyone in Prince Albert to come to it.

“What the health fair is, really, it is based around the modifiable risk factors for heart disease,” he said. “We already know that people have all these potential risks. What can we do about them?

“That’s the piece I really want to push this year is the education.”

There will be different health professionals at the fair -- such as nurses, exercise therapists, dieticians, stress/addictions counsellors, pharmacists and others -- to give people advice on how to stay healthy.

“There are going to be different stations in the event and we encourage people to come down and find out information, to find out if they even have that risk and then what is it that they can do if they have that risk, what are the things we can do to reduce the risks,” he explained.

Although the education piece of the day is free of charge, the walk, for which the registration starts at 10 a.m., has a registration fee attached.

Participants, individually or in a team of five, can choose to walk two or five kilometres or run five or 10 kilometres.

“It is for fun. We don’t have timers, no one counts the laps -- so if you can’t do the required distance that is not the point,” Gaudet said. “The point is to have people come out and have a good time, so a little bit of exercise and then learn about cardiac rehabilitation.”

The registration fee is $30 for individuals or $150 for a team and includes a burger lunch. The fee will be waived for individuals if they raise $100 and teams if they raise $600.

To learn more about the walk and get a pledge form, contact Fitlife at 306-765-6590 or email Gaudet at dcgaudet@paphr.sk.ca

Organizations: Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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