People and dogs walk to raise awareness for heart health

Dogs and dog lovers walk to a healthier heart at the Woof-a-thon 2015.

SINGAPORE - Hundreds of dog-lovers took a walk with their furry friends at Bishan Park on Sunday to raise greater awareness of the cardiovascular benefits associated with the physical activity.

They were participating in Woof-a-thon 2015, the inaugural pet walkathon organised by the Singapore Heart Foundation.

Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development, attended this family-friendly event with more than 200 dogs taking part in the 2km 'Buddy Walk'.

More than 500 participants of all ages, even those with no dogs, also joined in the walk with their family and friends, lending their support in the battle against cardiovascular diseases.

Mr Lee emphasised the importance of adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, by exercising regularly, eating right, avoiding smoking and going for health screenings.

He said: "Our heart is at the centre of our cardiovascular system, and therefore vitally important to our health. By taking good care of it, we are able to enjoy better quality of life".

studies have shown how animal-assisted therapy may help to improve cardiopulmonary pressures and anxiety in patients hospitalised with heart failure.

Professor Terrance Chua, Chairman of the Singapore Heart Foundation said: "Cardiovascular disease accounted for 29.5 per cent of all deaths in 2013, which means that nearly 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore, is due to heart disease or stroke. There are many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, some of which include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, lack of exercise, stress and smoking. However, the good news is that cardiovascular disease is a disease of lifestyle and is in principle, largely preventable."

Beside the 2km 'Buddy Walk, other key highlights at Woof-a-thon 2015 included basic health screenings, as well as CPR and AED demonstrations for both humans and dogs, to advocate the importance of learning such essential life-saving skills.