A good way to start your 5K career and help your heart

A good way to start your 5K career and help your heart

5k heart healthWhat could beat a view of the Atlantic on a September morning? One way would be by getting some exercise at the same time.

The Healthy Parks, Healthy People 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health starts at 9 a.m. Sept. 23 at Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham and continues through the nearby Cape Cod National Seashore.

Cape Cod Healthcare, the Cape Cod National Seashore and Koko Fit Clubs are co-sponsoring the 5K (5 kilometers or 3.1 miles) event as a way to promote fitness.

“Five K is a great distance because it’s completely attainable for the general person who’s not an elite athlete,” said Elissa Thompson, MD, a Cape Cod Hospital cardiologist and the medical director of Healthy Parks, Healthy People.

One nice thing about the 5K distance is it allows for a quick recovery, she said. You should be able to go about your normal business that day and the next, unlike the long recovery needed after a marathon.

“You can do a 5K and in another few weeks do another and you can see your progress. Are you walking or jogging a little faster?”

For those who need to build up to a 5K distance, you might want to check out Cape Cod Healthcare’s Couch to 5K Training Program.  It takes you from sedentary to strong in a matter of weeks.

Registration, Bib Pick-Up, Parking

The registration fee for the 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health is $25 online (plus fee) or $30 race day for adults, $20/$25 for students (ages 11-18) and $15/$20 for children 10 and younger. Online registration is open through Sept. 21.

Bib pick-up will be available at Marathon Sports in Yarmouth on Sept. 21, KokoFit Club in Orleans on Sept. 22, and Nauset Regional High School on Sept. 23 (race day), beginning at 8 a.m.

The first 250 to register will receive a 5K Run/Walk for Heart Health T-shirt.

Parking for the event will be at Nauset Regional High School, 100 Cable Road, North Eastham.

You also can be part of the fun as a race-day volunteer by helping with registration, handing out water or greeting runners at the finish line. Please sign up in advance,

“We’re very excited to have people from the Cape participate in this,” said Dr. Thompson. “It’s a great opportunity with two great partners, the National Seashore and Cape Cod Healthcare, to show off the National Seashore as a place for healthful living and exercise.”

Great For Families

“I don’t run, but I walk a lot, and I like to do 5Ks,” she said. “I love doing 5Ks on the Cape because you get to see different parts of the Cape. I can satisfy my own competitive instincts. I want to see if I can walk a little faster the next time, get my time a little bit lower.”

Dr. Thompson often brings her husband and children with her.

“It’s definitely a family event, so that everybody sees how great it is to be outdoors, how great it is to be exercising and how easy it can be.”

Local 5Ks are very welcoming to newcomers and to people of all fitness levels, she said.

“Sometimes they have a few elite runners, but most of the participants are families and walkers and joggers who are just trying to stay in shape. I think they’re really approachable. I never feel intimidated about going out there and having a great time with my kids and enjoying the day.”

There are many benefits to training for and participating in 5K run/walks, said Dr. Thompson.

“I encourage my patients to do 5Ks,” she said. “You can lose weight, lower your blood pressure, lower your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol and increase your overall health.

“Sitting is one of the major factors in global mortality. If you have a seated job, your risk of mortality for any cause is higher. We want people out and walking more to reduce that risk.”

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