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It's Physical Activity Month: North Dakotans Encouraged to Move

April is Physical Activity Month, a good time to commit to a daily walk and other moves to get into better shape. (Lindsey G/Flickr)
April is Physical Activity Month, a good time to commit to a daily walk and other moves to get into better shape. (Lindsey G/Flickr)
April 14, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. – April is Physical Activity Month, and heart health and fitness experts in North Dakota say, 'Get up and move around!'

As Americans are more sedentary, the risks increase for heart disease, stroke and other serious health conditions. Heart disease is already the leading cause of death in the U.S., and each year heart attacks and strokes kill more people than all forms of cancer combined. But these conditions are often avoidable.

Trisha Dohn, president and CEO of Well 365, a company that promotes fitness in the workplace, says there are many ways to exercise.

"We can't be so hard on ourselves," she said. "If we think it has to be that, 'I'm running three miles on the treadmill or doing a marathon,' that's not the case. It's finding what works for them, to be active and get exercise in."

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Dohn adds those times can be broken up in any way that works for an individual. It might mean parking farther from the grocery store to get more walking in, or using a push mower instead of a riding mower.

About two in three Americans are overweight or obese, and one in three doesn't participate in any leisure-time physical activity, according to the American Heart Association.

Dohn points out that there's a lot more to be gained from exercising than just staying fit or preventing heart disease.

"There's even just more benefits, if they think about helping their stress or sleeping better, or thinking about exercise as a way to help any chronic conditions or any risks that they have, or just a way to interact with others," she explained.

She adds it's also in employers' best interest to encourage their workers to be fit and healthy, which means finding ways to promote physical activity on breaks or perhaps scheduling walking meetings.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND