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News Room: Press Releases

Virtua participates in Start! Walking Day

Dozens of Virtua staff from across the system participated in the The American Heart Association's National Start! Walking Day on April 8.

The association called on all Americans at home or at work to walk for 30 minutes as part of the National Start! Walking Day, a national initiative that champions walking because it has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity.

Virtua, the South Jersey Start! Sponsor with the American Heart Association, has 10 established walking paths on various hospital campuses throughout South Jersey that are being recognized as official American Heart Association Start! Walking Paths on National Start! Walking Day.

"Virtua is honored to be a part of such a heart healthy initiative like Start!," said Richard P. Miller, Virtua President and CEO. "It's exciting to see the community work together to make positive strides to better the health of the people of South Jersey."

Adults are spending more time at work than ever before. As a nation we're becoming more inactive. A person is 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have coronary heart disease if he or she is inactive, but walking vigorously for 30 minutes a day can help reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Adults should get at least two and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. Studies show that some adults may gain as many as two hours of life expectancy for each hour of regular, vigorous physical activity.

Mitch Rubin, MD, Medical Director for Virtua's Neurosciences Program of Excellence commends the efforts made in promoting heart and vascular health activities among Virtua's employees and in the community. "The effects of stroke and cardiovascular disease are devastating but can be reduced with programs that involve exercise and support such as the Start! walking program."

Start! is committed to getting people engaged in physical activity so they can live longer, stronger lives. Over sixty-six percent of American adults are considered overweight and obese and nearly 70 percent are not engaging in regular, moderate or even light physical activity.

"It's imperative that people know how important 30 minutes of walking a day is to their cardiovascular health. Just a few extra steps a day is a simple and easy way to take an active role in maintaining a significantly healthier life," said Andy Faupel, Director of Wellness at Virtua and a member of the American Heart Association South Jersey Start! Heart Walk Executive Leadership Team.

The 10 Start! Walking Paths at Virtua are located at Virtua Memorial Hospital Burlington County in Mt Holly; Virtua West Jersey Hospital Berlin; Virtua West Jersey Hospital Marlton; Virtua West Jersey Hospital Voorhees; Virtua Camden; Virtua Executive Office in Marlton; Virtua Information Services in Gibbsboro; Virtua Home Care in Mt. Laurel; Virtua Patient Accounting in Marlton; and Virtua Support Services Distribution Center in Marlton. All these paths are open to the public.

To see a list of paths nationwide or to map a custom walking route in your neighborhood, visit startwalkingnow.org.

Key Elements of the American Heart Association's Start! program:
  • MyStart! Online, a free, Web-based fitness and nutrition tracker, is the hub for a walking program that offers constant, measurable, personal improvement. The tool allows members to check up on one another and provide support and encouragement when they need a push, or congratulations when they have reached a goal. MyStart! Online also has a function that can record distance, map routes, locate nearby walking paths and keep ongoing log of walks taken.

  • The Start! Fit-Friendly Companies Recognition Program officially recognizes and rewards employers who champion the health of their employees and work to create a culture of physical activity in the workplace. The Program has several key aspects to help companies foster a culture of physical activity and wellness. Nearly 1,000 companies were designated Fit-Friendly in the first two years of the program.

  • The Start! Walking Program has three personalized walking plans for people with varying goals and fitness levels. No matter what shape you are in, these FREE, downloadable plans will help you become motivated to take the first step to a healthier life.

  • Start! Heart Walk, the American Heart Association's premier fund-raiser, enables people to improve their health by walking while helping fund the fight against heart disease and stroke. More than 425 Start! Heart Walks are held each year in cities nationwide.
Start! is supported in South Jersey by a strategic partnership with Virtua and sponsored nationally by SUBWAY® Restaurants, Healthy Choice® and AstraZeneca For more information, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit startwalkingnow.org.
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, four acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, seven ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. It is the official orthopedic provider for the Philadelphia Flyers. Virtua employs more than 8,400 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley for seven consecutive years. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit  www.virtua.org or www.virtuabroadcastnetwork.org.