Updated: 02/12/2014 6:30 AM
Created: 02/11/2014 11:21 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Heart Awareness Month brings serious competition to St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth. Employees are battling heart attacks and strokes one step at a time.
“Today I'm up to 4,000,” Exercise Physiologist Sierra Anderson said.
That's 4,000 footsteps, and she's counting up to 10,000 every day.
“With the Pedometer on you're constantly reminded to keep an eye on it and to always maybe keep in mind taking a few extra steps,” Anderson said.
She is one of 700 St. Luke's employees covering miles all over the hospital. Over 40 teams have come together for fun, for health, and to win with the most steps. Cleaning Attendant Megan Nekowitch said the Sweep Walkers were mopping the floor with the competition.
“I was just really surprised. I mean, I do 10,000 or 20,000 just from running. I mean, it's amazing how easy tey add up,” Nekowitch said.
Anderson said there are ways to tick up even more on the pedometer.
“Parking at the end of the parking lot to get in those extra steps or taking the stairs all the way up to the cardiac unit adds in quite a few,” Anderson said.
But why so many steps? Dr. James Mohn said breaking the winter slump can give your heart a little extra pump.
“Sedentary people walk 2,000 or 3,000 steps a day. The challenge is to try and get people to walk 10,000 steps a day. That's approximately 5 miles of distance,” Mohn said.
The American Heart Association said heart disease kills 1 in 4 Americans every year. Mohn said stepping it up can cut the risk factors for strokes and heart attacks.
“Problems and diseases we deal with are a consequence of the lifestyle we enjoy in this country. So the diet we enjoy, the lack of exercise we enjoy because so amny things are made easier for us,” Mohn said.
Becoming heart healthy can make the employees rethink their lunch too. St. Luke's makes it easy by listing the number of steps it takes to burn off a muffin or a doughnut. That could make you think twice about grabbing one according to Nekowitch.
“Yeah I try and mark how much I eat for breakfast or lunch and then run it off at night,” Nekowitch said.
For employees needing a little incentitive there are bragging rights and a huge heart trophy to raise the stakes.
“We want that heart pillow for the year as a good reminder of how well we did,” Anderson said.
The winning team also gets three months of free gym time to keep their resolutions rolling. If your health goals have kicked the bucket the strong striders at St. Luke's said this challenge can get your heart beating again, and not just to win.
“It shouldn't just be a challenge that we want to rise to and see if we can achieve it, you know, because being heart healthy is something we do for our entire life and not just a contest period,” Anderson said.
The employees are building a stronger, healthier heart one step at a time.
The teams racked up for 79 million steps, which adds up to nearly 40,000 miles, and there is over a week left to go in the competition.
MNsure Enrollments, Renewals Approach 8,000
Minnesota's health insurance exchange says it has enrolled nearly 8,000 Minnesotans in health plans in the first week of open enrollment this fall. The deadline for enrolling in coverage that takes effect Jan. 1 is Dec. 15.
Wisconsin Gun Deer Hunt Begins
The season opened as the sun rose Saturday and will run through Nov. 30. Forecasts for opening weekend called for freezing rain and fog with highs ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s both days.
Superior Police: Officer's Use of Force Justified
The Superior Police Department says an internal investigation has found an officer's use of force was justified in an arrest seen on a controversial dashcam video. However, the officer was given a 10-hour unpaid suspension for "vulgar and unprofessional" communication during the arrest.
Johnston Investigation Concludes Five Allegations Substantiated
An investigation into allegations that a Duluth school board member threatened the district's superintendent and other board members concludes that five of six claims are warranted. A 67-page report details the allegations against school board member Art Johnston released to Eyewitness News on Friday.
Denfeld High School Debuts In-School Food Pantry, Clothes Closet
A new program at Denfeld High School in Duluth aimed at making sure students don't go hungry or without clothes, made its debut on Friday. The Hunter Hut food pantry and clothes closet is the first of its kind in an eight-county radius because it gives students the chance to shop for free groceries and clothing right at school....