From the heart, for the heart: St. Joseph's hosts Treadmill ChallengeThe wheels on the stationary bike go ’round and ’round when Jeannette Berger takes to her three-days-a-week exercise routine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
The wheels on the stationary bike go ’round and ’round when Jeannette Berger takes to her three-days-a-week exercise routine at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center in Dickinson.
Berger’s early morning workouts at the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation center began several years ago after stents were placed in her heart to open the arteries, a common treatment for heart disease.
Now she’s preparing for today’s Treadmill Challenge at St. Joseph’s.
“The workouts are a great way to start the day,” she said. “This daily exercise is important, especially for women, who often focus so much on helping others and not themselves.”
Now the 63-year-old retired hospital worker and college nursing instructor from Dickinson will put her years of workouts to the test during the challenge, where she will be one of 48 participants at the cardiac rehab center to do 15 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a designated treadmill.
Along with St. Joseph’s, other North Dakota hospitals participating in the challenge include Sanford Health and St. Alexius Hospital, both in Bismarck, Jamestown Regional Medical Center in Jamestown and Sanford Health in Fargo.
Altogether, the North Dakota event will involve 336 participants, including hospital employees, cardiac and pulmonary rehab patients, and gym members.
The goal of the event is to log the most miles traveled on the treadmill to be designated as the facility with the most heart awareness.
Joan Enderle, American Heart Association’s communications and Go Red director for North Dakota, said regular exercise, like Berger does, is one of the best ways to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.
“By adding one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, adults may gain up to two hours of life expectancy,” she said. “The American Heart Association recommends adults aim for at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity.”
After Berger was asked to participate in the treadmill challenge by Teresa Bren, cardiac and pulmonary rehab coordinator at St. Joseph’s, she set herself a personal goal to complete three miles during her 15 minutes on the treadmill.
And Berger isn’t taking any chances when it comes to preparation for the challenge.
Her workout routine at the cardiac center, which begins between 7:30 and 8 a.m., involves the rotating use of five pieces of equipment, including an elliptical machine and stationary bike.
“When I was asked to do this, I thought at first that I might be too old to do it, but I think it will give me a boost,” she said.
February is Heart Awareness Month. Heart disease is estimated to have caused the death of almost 600,000 people nationwide in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reported that heart disease continued to be the leading cause of death nationwide in 2011, resulting in the most deaths of both men and women.
That’s why heart health information available at St. Joseph’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department today, where there will also be an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’re hoping people get a lot out of the whole event and that it gets people in here and gets them to be aware of heart disease and how they can prevent it,” Bren said. “We want people to be aware of their risks, so that they can prevent heart disease before it is a problem.
“It’s also important for people to understand that the risk factors for developing heart disease are different in men and women and what men will go through is different than what men go through.”