Hundreds of Albany Med staff members walked outside together for 15 minutes. It was a day set aside for heart health awareness. Diego Cagara / Spotlight News
ALBANY — Over 400 Albany Medical Center doctors, nurses and staff gathered outside the hospital complex’s Building B entrance on Thursday, April 25 at noon to take a 15-minute walk to observe April as Move More Month.
Known officially as the Heart Walk, the event also raised awareness of keeping people physically active, even for just a few minutes of walking outside, as well as inform people of the dangers of heart disease and stroke. The walk began on Myrtle Avenue by Building B before going around Morris and Robin streets.
There were a few informational tables related to the American Heart Association and opportunities to win a Fitbit and other health-oriented merchandise. Before the walk commenced, the large crowd gathered to listen to a few speeches across from the building entrance.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of all men and women in the U.S. and the world. It beats the top four cancers combined. But health is wealth,” said Sulagna “Suzie” Mookherjee, an Albany Med cardiologist and co-chair of the 2019 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run event on June 2. “Exercise helps to prevent and it’s movement and motion. You need to know your numbers, blood pressure, sugars, and cholesterol. You gotta move because exercise is key.”
Mookherjee also said that as the weather warms up nowadays, people should get out more often, get some fresh air and stay active. “We don’t move enough as a general society and it’s very hard, doing work day-to-day, to find time to do it … With computers, lifestyles and work, we’re sitting so much and we know that the more you sit, the worse it is for your longevity and your cardiovascular health. You got to diet and exercise and don’t smoke too.”
In a press release provided by the American Heart Association, Mookherjee added that only one in five adults get enough exercise to maintain good health and it’s ideal to get at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly. “A good, brisk walk is good for your heart and brain, and is key to maintaining or improving mobility, which is so important to a long and healthy life.”
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy (D-109) also appeared to speak, who would eventually join the walk too. “This is such a great program and I so commend Albany Med as well as the American Heart Association,” she said, adding that she has been pushing for people to use bicycle pathways, safe crosswalks, outdoor trails and public transportation as a means of moving outside. “It is all about good health but it also raises our spirits as well. Just five minutes outside and I already feel better.”
The last speaker was Delmar resident Monica Roach, Stroke Ambassador to the aforementioned June 2 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run. She has survived two strokes, one in 2017 and the other just this past January. “Right here at Albany Med, they saved my life and got me up and moving again,” she said. “I feel like I’m getting a second or rather, a third chance, truth be told, to try to walk the right walk, say the right things and be a better person.”
Saying that she was overwhelmed and encouraged by the turnout, she added that raising awareness about heart disease and stroke is key “so that if you think something is going to happen, you can reach out for help. A lot of folks do not understand what may happen if a stroke is not properly treated with enough time. Awareness is so important.”
While April and Move More Month have ended, the upcoming June 2 Capital Region Heart Walk and Run will occur at the University at Albany, located on 1400 Washington Ave. in Albany. It is another event where people can participate to raise more awareness of heart disease and stroke. For more information on that, visit www.heart.org.
Photos by Diego Cagara / Spotlight News