World Heart Day 2014

Posted on September 29, 2014 by Eleanor McKenzie
Mature couple walking dog in the countryside

World Heart Day is on Monday 29th September this year — will you be taking part in the UK?

World Heart Day is an international event that aims to help spread awareness about the number one cause of death worldwide — heart disease. Did you know that some 17 million lives are lost every year thanks to this condition? That’s more than malaria, cancer, HIV and AIDS put together!

And it’s a little known fact that 80 per cent of these deaths can be prevented by making common sense lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking, eating a healthier diet and exercising regularly — factors that all contribute to developing heart disease. World Heart Day has been running since 2000 and each year organisers focus on a different theme through public talks, campaigns, screenings, walks, runs, concerts, and of course, fundraising events.

This year focuses on ‘Workplace Wellness’, to promote healthy heart habits. Bosses at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) want thousands of Brits to make positive lifestyle changes in the workplace, while raising money for the charity so they can continue getting the message across that heart disease is avoidable. This is becoming increasingly relevant in the UK as obesity, poor diet and a lack of physical activity are becoming more common.

How can I take part?

Good question! Well charity chiefs at the BHF are asking Brits to encourage their co-workers to exercise more – after all, we’ve all got each other’s best interests at heart.

One way you can help is to get work friends to use the stairs rather than lifts or escalators. In fact, there’s even a competition called the Stair-Climb Challenge, where you can virtually climb mountains or buildings such as Ben Nevis or Blackpool Tower, by recording the number of stairs you climb each day. The challenge can be completed over 4, 8 or 12 weeks and you can download record sheets from the charity.

Workers can also improve the health of their ticker by taking more lunch time walks or even organising their own BHF Walking Challenge. This involves you and your work colleagues going for a stroll to improve your fitness levels. There are plenty of organised walks across the UK or you can even plan your own — while raising money for the British Heart Foundation of course!

In addition, there’s also the usual marathon running, bike rides and hikes to sign up to. So on World Heart Day get involved: it’s the perfect day to stop smoking, start exercising and improving both your health and your work colleagues’ health.


by Eleanor McKenzie

Eleanor McKenzie is a Northern Irish writer with a passion for art, literature, and red wine. She's worked at advertising agency JWT, edited a journal for a European social policy think tank and tried to teach teenagers the difference between "there" and "their". Being 50+ has not significantly changed Eleanor's life, although she finds it a handy excuse when she wants to avoid anything too energetic.