BIDMC Sponsors Healthy-Heart Walking Trail on Esplanade
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has joined forces with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to sponsor a healthy-heart walking trail on the Charles River Esplanade.
Officials from the hospital, the AHA and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation Resources (DCR) gathered on an island near the Hatch Shell Sept. 15 to cut a ribbon and dedicate the trail to the walkers of Boston. The brief ceremony took place just before the start of the Boston Heart Walk, an annual event in which 14,000+ individuals walk to raise funds for the AHA's cardiovascular research, emergency and education programs.
Against a backdrop of the beautiful Charles River and the Cambridge skyline -- sights visible from the 1.2-mile path - BIDMC Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tabb explained his institution's rationale for supporting walking programs.
Health benefits of walking
"BIDMC and its CardioVascular Institute are passionate about the health benefits of walking," said Dr. Tabb. "That's why our cardiologists give patients pedometers to encourage them to walk. That's why we sponsor the Heart Walk. That's why we started the BIDMC Walking Club."
Referring to the Esplanade trail BIDMC is supporting along with its partners, he continued, "We three share a vision of a healthier Boston and we invite the public to enjoy the view while improving their cardiovascular health."
Live music from the rock group Didn't Planet kicked off the ceremony with a rendition of BIDMC's theme song, "Walkin' around Boston." Additional speakers included Michael Weamer, executive vice president of the American Heart Association; Boston City Councilor Michael Ross; Joseph P. Kannam, MD, a BIDMC cardiologist and recent past president of the regional AHA board; and Serena Grooms, a BIDMC employee and Heart Walk team captain who lives in Roxbury and walks regularly with friends, family, and a church-based fitness group.
"Through increased walking, I have lost six pounds in one month," she said. "Keeping motivated, getting out and walking can be tough. I recognize that walking in a beautiful place is a motivation, and that's where this path on the Esplanade comes in. Thank you to all three organizations for giving this Heart-Healthy trail to the walkers of Boston."
The walking trail is part of the DCR's Healthy-Heart Trail Initiative aimed at encouraging people to improve their cardiovascular health by walking, running, cycling and other activities on 70 specially designated paths on its properties across the state. It is also the official trail of the
BIDMC Walking Club, an online resource for businesses, schools and individuals who want to start walking programs. The club is sponsored by the CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC.