BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America, but at least 200,000 deaths could be prevented each year, according to the CDC. More than half of those deaths involve people under the age of 65.
The Baton Rouge General hosts "Love Your Heart Day" on Saturday morning at the Bluebonnet campus. The event features free vascular and skin screenings, exercise and cooking demos, seminars led by doctors and activities for children.
One highlight is a walk-in inflatable heart exhibit that offers visitors an intimate lesson on cardiovascular disease and the heart's functions.
Zumba, barre and stretching demos will be provided by the hospital's fitness instructors. Doctors recommend thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week.
"Even if you're not getting 30 minutes straight, you can break it up with 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there, five minutes here, five minutes there. That all is still beneficial," said Dr. Stephanie Awad, a family physician at the General.
Awad will teach a free seminar called "15 minute jump start to a healthy heart."
"You can actually find activities you enjoy, and stuff that you might already be doing like cleaning your house or mowing your lawn. That counts towards that," she said.
Health fitness specialist Jheri Corb expects big crowds for the barre exercise demonstration.
"That's one of our newest classes. It's actually one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry right now," she said. "What it does, it's a 60-minute class that incorporates cardiovascular training, strength training, flexibility, core training and a ballet bar."
Classes at the hospital are designed for all ages and skill levels.
"We're just trying to showcase that you can move around and not have a high risk of injury in these types of exercises," Chorb explained.
Tobacco use is one of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease. Smoking cessation resources resources will be available to help quit the habit.
A heart-healthy diet is important too. Cooking demonstrations will highlight fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. All can help protect your heart. Limiting certain fats will also help maintain a healthy weight, which prevents high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
A seminar called "Know your numbers" will underscore the importance of tracking blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Free blood pressure and body mass index checks will be available.
Those interested can take the free Heart Health Assessment online. Results can be printed out to bring to the event or a future doctor's appointment.
Children's activities include face painting, ring toss, spin the wheel and more.
Love Your Heart Day runs from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Bluebonnet campus. All events have been moved indoors due to the threat of rain.