An event to promote the benefits of walking for protecting the heart and overall health will be held at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre in southern Athens on October 1, organised by the Hellenic Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons.
The event begins at 11:00 on Sunday morning and, in addition to useful tips for good health, features a five-kilometre walk that takes in the Battleship Averoff.
The heart walk will begin at the SNFCC and follow a route going through the grounds to the Averoff Battleship and back to the starting point. Shorter walks of one and two kilometres are also marked, while there will be support stations providing medical services and drinks along the way.
Participants must be at the SNFCC half an hour before 11:00 in order to receive the walk t-shirt and all participants will be issued a certificate of attendance after the walk.
Doctors note that gentle exercise such as walking on a daily basis, even at moderate levels of fitness, significantly lessens the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The event will highlight the benefits of walking as a way of rehabilitating heart-surgery patients and for preventing a large number of diseases, as well as giving pointers on healthy diet and lifestyle.
According to experts, walking can be a valuable and life-saving medicine that is completely free of side effects. It keeps the hard-working heart muscle healthy by keeping arteries “clean” and increasing so-called “good” cholesterol (HDL), while reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol that is responsible for clogging arteries and causing heart disease.
It is also a good way of lowering blood pressure, leading to 30-40 pct reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and 63 pct lower risk of a stroke.
Walking also has beneficial effects on a series of other health issues, reducing the danger of type II diabetes by up to 58 pct in pre-diabetic patients, helping with weight loss, slowing ageing and causing a 50 pct supression of the action of 12 genes involved in obesity. It has also been shown to prevent or cure depression, senile dementia and increase wellbeing in older people.