Get your blood pumping

Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Supporters of heart health will be getting their blood pumping this weekend with a heart walk sponsored by Sentara Obici Hospital.

The events, which will be held at the Suffolk Family YMCA across Godwin Boulevard from the hospital, also will include an indoor heart stroll for those who may not be able to make the whole mile or keep pace with the more avid walkers, as well as a health fair.

“This is the No. 1 killer of people in Suffolk,” said registered nurse Ross Reitz of Sentara Obici Hospital. “This is our problem, but it’s also our opportunity to overcome it.”

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The walk, stroll and health fair will help participants learn the benefits of exercise and what they can do to continue staying healthy at home, Reitz said.

“We want to encourage exercise,” he said. “You build up. If they don’t make the full 20 minutes, that’s OK. You do what you can.”

The heart walk will begin at the YMCA and cross the street to continue on the grounds of Obici before returning to the Y. To participate, a donation is requested for the American Heart Association. The heart stroll will take place indoors at the YMCA.

Also indoors at the Y, the health fair will include free screenings such as blood pressure and other vital signs, blood sugar and cholesterol. The screenings will help people determine if they should see their doctor for follow-up, Reitz said.

“If they don’t know they’re at risk, they can’t do anything about it,” Reitz said. “Especially anybody who may not be able to afford a doctor visit to get their blood pressure or blood sugar checked.”

Other elements of the health fair will include healing touch therapy, balance training and education on preventing heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Chair exercises also will be demonstrated, said Dr. Latrina Lemon of Sentara Obici Hospital.

“That will show people how to exercise in their home,” she said. “They don’t need a gym.”

The event will be held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, call 934-4940.