The Montgomery County Heart Walk brings families and businesses together to walk for heart health

THE WOODLANDS, TX – The American Heart Association, the leading global nonprofit organization focused on enabling longer, healthier lives for all, has named Ben Bentley, executive vice president of Kiewit Corporation, as chair of the Montgomery County Walk for the Heart for 2022

In this role, Bentley is charged with a fundraising goal of $400,000 to support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association. Through its corporate sponsors and donors, the Association works to change the landscape of employee health and engagement while impacting the communities in which our large Houston workforce lives and works.

There is a strong business case for this approach. Workplace stress is as harmful as secondhand smoke, and US workers are among the most stressed in the world. According to a recent survey, 78% of people say that workplace stress affects their mental health. Work-related stress is associated with a 40% increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Building a culture where employees thrive is a business imperative,” Bentley said. “The American Heart Association’s approach to employee wellness helps business leaders promote health and wellness to unleash the power of a healthy and happy workforce. As work resumes in a post-pandemic world and as leaders evaluate their environmental, social and governance strategies, this is more important than ever.”

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The American Heart Association’s Heart Challenge® is a set of activities and initiatives, including the Heart Walk, designed to help companies positively impact the overall health and well-being of employees. The program is anchored in a series of personalized workplace events that inspire employees to be more engaged, reconnect with colleagues, get active, support a great cause and have a lot of fun while doing it.

Movement is a critical component of our mental and physical health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of activity per week. The Heart Challenge campaign is designed to inspire people to find opportunities to move every day by encouraging employees to move more and sit less. Starting small and being consistent can make big changes in the long run.

The Montgomery County Heart Challenge culminates with the Heart Walk on November 12 at Northshore Park in The Woodlands and brings the community together in a celebration of health and honoring survivors. Bentley will be joined by other like-minded managers working to improve physical and mental health, combat burnout and promote community engagement.

“Over the course of their lives, people will spend more than 90,000 hours at work. That’s more than a third of their lives spent thinking, doing and achieving work goals – times that spill over into their personal and family lives and ultimately impact the communities around them,” Bentley said. “Corporations, companies and small businesses have a responsibility to workers and the community to focus on the mental, physical and emotional health of employees. One of the ways we do this is by supporting the American Heart Association and using their resources to help our staff build healthier habits, reduce tobacco use, improve sleep habits, and create more – an inclusive work environment.”

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Other Heart Challenge events taking place in Montgomery County include CycleNation®, a high-energy stationary bike event that stops stroke and heart disease. This year’s CycleNation is planned for spring 2023. In addition, the company’s field days throughout the year help put some play space into the workplace while raising critical funds to end heart disease and stroke. Whether at the company office or in home offices, employees engage in fun physical and mental challenges, providing an opportunity for meaningful social connections and play breaks during the workday to help combat burnout and relieve stress.

“We spend more time working than in any other activity except sleeping.” It’s extremely important to find ways to manage stress and build healthier habits,” said Kelly Armstrong, vice president of development for the American Heart Association’s Gulf region. “When people feel their best, they do their best. Studies show that workforce health and wellness programs that are well designed, fully implemented, and rigorously evaluated can lead to better employee health, productivity, and retention. With the Houston Heart Challenge and through Ben’s leadership this year, the American Heart Association is making great strides in improving employee health and engagement.”

Funds raised at all Heart Challenge events fund the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives through investments in groundbreaking research and advocacy work to address system-level policies to reduce disparities in health. Locally in Montgomery County, funds support community impact work to address nutrition security, hypertension, women’s health and CPR. They have been identified as key priorities in greater Houston and drive work toward the Association’s 2024 goal of impacting health equity, reducing barriers to access and quality of health care.

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To learn more about engaging your workforce in Heart Challenge events or to join Ben Bentley and other area leaders, visit MontgomeryCountyHeartWalk.org or contact [email protected] for more information.

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations and supported by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for public health and share life-saving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us at heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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