FORT WALTON BEACH — North Okaloosa Medical Center CEO and 2013 American Heart Association Heart Walk chairman David Fuller met with Okaloosa and Walton county executives March 12 at Northwest Florida State College to show numerous ways that partnership with the American Heart Association, or AHA, can benefit their businesses and employees.
Attendees received information that they can use to get their AHA partnership started. Highlights included National Walking Day, the annual Okaloosa Walton Heart Walk and the importance of workplace wellness initiatives. Companies taking part in workplace wellness efforts can apply to be a Fit Friendly Company and receive this designation.
"The message presented during the 2013 Okaloosa Walton Health Walk Executive Breakfast was on point and well-articulated,” Inger Alderfer, AHA Greater Southwest Affiliate regional director, said. “The message of wellness and heart health was clear and area employers were challenged to embrace their role as a partner in heart and health care for their employees and staff."
A personal look
A highlight was the testimony of heart patient Anne Spies, who was 41 years old when she had the first of two heart attacks.
"I knew it couldn’t be my heart because I didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, exercised regularly and had no family history of heart disease," she said.
Women who consider themselves healthy often misdiagnose or ignore heart attack symptoms because they don’t think it can happen to them, according to the AHA.
"Don’t ignore your symptoms because you think you are 'healthy.' Consult your physician; the nurses and physicians at North Okaloosa Medical Center and Fort Walton Beach Medical Center saved my life. Words cannot express my gratitude,” Spies said.
American Heart Association events are as follows:
●National Walking Day: 11:30 a.m. April 3, North Okaloosa Medical Center hospital track at the corner of east Redstone Avenue and Brookmeade Drive, Crestview.
NOMC employees invite the public to join them as they walk around the hospital’s track.
●Heart Ball: 6:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. May 4, Magnolia Ballroom, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin. The Kentucky Derby-themed ball will feature southern fare, derby-inspired wear, silent and live auctions and music by The Mulligans.
●AHA Okaloosa Walton Heart Walk: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sept. 28, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville. Participants will embark on a noncompetitive 3-mile walk to help raise funds for heart disease and stroke research.
Americans are encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes of their day briskly walking. Physical activity is critical to being healthy, but less than 50 percent of adults get enough daily exercise, according to North Okaloosa Medical Center.
Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly to see the health benefits of physical activity such as lower blood pressure, improved bone health, weight maintenance after weight loss, better sleep and more energy.