49ers safety Michael Lewis and alumni Steve Young teamed up and walked side by side on a treadmill today at Santana Row in an effort to motivate the public to get out and walk 30 minutes a day as part of National Start! Walking Day in partnership with the American Heart Association.
Lewis and Young each walked for ten minutes whiling explaining the importance of exercising, eating healthy, and getting their genetics checked in order to live a long and prosperous life.
"I'm out here to just encouraging people to exercise, eat well and get your genetics checked out," said 49ers great and alumni, Steve Young. "People work hard and it's a lot of stress and there's not a lot of time. I know it from having four kids and going all day long and working and trying to get that part done and the last thing you can think about it is exercising. But you have to make it a priority, you have to eat well and exercise. And then the other part is just your genetics, your genetics might be working against you and you don't even know it in heart disease. Those three things, exercise, eat well and get your genetics checked."
Lewis, walking alongside Young, was at the event for the same reason, to encourage people to exercise and live a healthy life, but also to share his personal story of being diagnosed in college with a heart disease called atrial fibrillation.
"I have atrial fibrillation, pretty much where my heart beats at a faster rhythm than a normal person's heart would," said Lewis. "It was something I didn't know I had until I did a routine physical my freshman year of college. Once I found out I had it I was immediately concerned. Through other tests and meeting with my doctors, I found out I could live my life as normal as anyone if I continued to exercise."
Prior to being diagnosed in college, Lewis showed no signs of fatigue or stamina loss or any of the other typical signs of someone with a heart condition. Through his participation today and support of the American Heart Association through serving as a spokesperson in Philadelphia when he played for the Eagles, Lewis hopes that those who heard his story will take more precaution and realize that anyone could be at risk and even if they are diagnosed with a heart disease, they too can still live a healthy lifestyle.
"People may have a condition but they are afraid to exercise because they think something will happen to them," said Lewis, "But when they see an actual athlete come out with a condition and support the event and disclose his condition with everyone else, I feel like it will motivate somebody and that's all I want to do, is motivate somebody with a condition, where they are afraid to get out and do some exercise. I want you to live your life and not be concerned about it."
The morning started out with a warm up session by Susan Armenta, program director at the Bay Area Women's Sports Intitiative and a fitness instructor for AlaVie Fitness. Susan is an American record holder in racewalking and Olympic hopeful who lead the group in zumba, the latest exercise craze that's re-energizing gyms all across this country.
Following the zumba session, there were two treadmills set up side by side to showcase how easy it is to walk 30 minutes a day. With the assistance of Young, Lewis and other celebrities and volunteers including Ash Kalra, San Jose City Council member, Dr. Neal A. Scott, a cardiologist in Mountain View specializing in preventive and interventional cardiology, Dolly Sandoval, Cupertino Mayor and chair of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Board of Directors, and Mark Bregman, chief technology officer at Symantec, each person walked for 10 minutes alongside another celebrity or volunteer on the treadmill for three separate walking sessions.
National Start! Walking Day, is the nationwide call-to-action for Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle. All across the country, the American Heart Association recruited hundreds of companies to encourage their employees to wear sneakers to work and pledge to start a healthier lifestyle.
"Today is the kick off of the American Heart Association Start! Walking program. Walking is just a good way to get exercise and exercise is the key to good heart health. Today is really the beginning of the whole year season of getting people out and getting them aware and getting them to get a little more exercise and keep their heart healthy."
The 49ers and the American Heart Association want to encourage everyone to get out, exercise, eat healthy and get their heart checked regularly!