The American Heart Association is hoping to raise $14,000 for programs and research.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Walking and fitness are the staples of Leslie Sansone-Bullano's career, so it makes sense that she's taking on the message of the American Heart Association.
The owner of Studio Fitness in New Castle, Sansone-Bullano will lead the warm-up at the Sept. 22 American Heart Walk in Pearson Park for the Lawrence County Chapter of the American Heart Association.
Sansone-Bullano is home in New Castle taking a break from promoting her nationally televised infomercial for her fitness program "Walk Away the Pounds" and appearances on QVC for her other fitness videos.
"I am so honored to do anything for the Heart Association. This is really what I started with years ago. The real reason we should be exercising is to prevent disease and the Heart Association has just been phenomenal about getting people moving," she said.
Statistics show: Heart disease is still the most common cause of death in the United States, but statistics show that exercising three or four times a week can decrease the chances of getting heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
"That doesn't mean you have to go out and do really strong calisthenics. People don't understand if you just go out an walk it builds cardiovascular endurance and helps physical fitness. It has a lot of benefits people don't even realize," said Diane Barber O'Brien, district director for the Lawrence County American Heart Association.
The 3.1 mile walk in Pearson Park in Neshannock Township will cater to different levels of fitness, said Bob Heath, walk chairman.
There will be a flat walking trail for those just starting out and a more demanding, hilly trail for those who are more fit and joggers, he said.
"If you chose not to walk the entire walk and to take a shortcut through the fitness trail, that's totally acceptable," he said.
Registration: Anyone can register the day of the walk at 9 a.m., but those who want to collect donations should contact the Lawrence County chapter for forms and other information, Barber O'Brien said.
Prizes and T-shirts will be given to those who raise money.
She noted that this year's fund-raising goal is $14,000, which will be used for local heart-healthy education materials that go to schools and hospitals. Some of the proceeds will go for national research on heart disease prevention, she said.
Sansone-Bullano encourages anyone interested in starting a new fitness program to begin with the Heart Walk.
"There is nothing better than a beautiful fall day in September to get out and have a healthy walk. Everything counts. Sometimes people say 'I haven't been walking,' but even talking a mild walk and getting started with us at the Heart Walk is good," she said.