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April 24, 2009 – Harris, N.Y. – Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is encouraging its employees to shape up. Sullivan County’s premier provider of health care services, CRMC is partnering with the American Heart Association to promote physical activity and decrease rates of heart disease and stroke through the Start! program. CRMC launched registration for the Start! Walking Challenge on April 8 and has already signed up over 100 employees. In fact, there are currently 15 teams of more than nine people each who have registered via the online website, All physical exercise is measured for the challenge including weightlifting, biking and walking. Each registered employee receives a pedometer to help track their walking distance and then must enter it online. Bikers and weightlifters input their activities into the website which then converts each exercise into overall steps. At the end of each month, CRMC will present an award to the team and individual that has recorded the greatest amount of steps. “Sometimes we become so involved with taking care of others that we ignore our own health,” said CRMC Chief Executive Officer Steve Ruwoldt. “The Start! campaign offers the staff a convenient and rewarding way to stay healthy. When our employees are healthy, they are more productive and able to provide better care for our patients.” Physical activity is encouraged while at work. In fact, there are signs to designate “Start! Walking” routes inside the Harris facility and maps are available to define outdoor walking courses on the campus, as well. All of the pathways vary in distance and degree of physical challenge. A more challenging Start! path includes several staircases throughout the facility. According to the American Heart Association, each year more than one-million Americans suffer a heart attack and 700,000 have a stroke. A leading risk of heart attack and embolic stroke is lack of physical activity. The American Heart Association also states that 70% of Americans are not getting enough exercise and blame lack of time and motivation. The Start! program promotes physical activity and heart-healthy living in an environment that’s fun with family, friends and co-workers. The American Heart Association believes that physical activity is very important in the fight against the symptoms of heart disease and stroke. Symptoms include weight gain, bone loss, decrease in energy and a high stress level.

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