AHA's Start! program encourages employers and employees to promote physical fitness, focusing on walking, because, according to AHA president Raymond Gibbons, “It's accessible, free, and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise.”
"Regular walking has many proven benefits for an individual's overall health,” said Gibbons. “Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day can lower both bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and high blood pressure. It can help individuals who are overweight achieve and maintain weight loss, and reduce their risk of stroke."
The AHA has built Start! around four key elements to help Americans live longer, heart-healthy lives:
- The Fit-Friendly Companies Recognition Program officially recognizes employers that champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of physical activity in the workplace.
- The Walking Program encourages companies to promote walking at work and recognize and reward employees who move from a sedentary to a more active lifestyle.
- MyStart! Online is a Web-based tool that allows employees to track their daily physical activity and their daily diet intake.
- Start! Heart Walk, the American Heart Association's premier fundraiser, gives people an opportunity to improve their health through walking while helping fund the fight against heart disease and stroke.