New Hampshire’s First-Ever CycleNation Brings Awareness to Heart Disease and Stroke

CycleNation is the newest event from the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. This event revolutionizes brain and heart health through high-energy stationary cycling. Teams got together on November 14 at Executive Health and Sports Center and rode relay-style on indoor cycles to get their hearts pumping and to raise awareness of leading causes of death in the United States, heart disease and stroke. The good news is, up to 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with lifestyle changes such as eating healthier and exercising more.

Cycling has been shown to strengthen heart muscles, lower resting heart rates and reduce body fat levels. CycleNation is designed to celebrate our power to transform health in America, while banding together for a high-energy, endorphin-pumping ride where everyone’s a winner.

The ride was led by heart attack survivor and instructor Nate Boudreau. Nate was in the best shape of his life when he had his heart attack, not knowing that certain stressors in his life and poor mental health were also taking a toll on his body. Despite his 90% blockage, Nate is doing well and exercising even more today.

When stress is excessive, it can contribute to everything from high blood pressure to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome.  Stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk: high blood pressure and cholesterol levelssmokingphysical inactivity and overeating. Some people may choose to drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes to “manage” their chronic stress, however these habits can increase blood pressure and may damage artery walls. Exercising, maintaining a positive attitude, not smoking, not drinking too much coffee, enjoying a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are good ways to deal with stress. Consult with your doctor to come up with a plan that works for you to manage stress.

Many survivors rode with Nate at CycleNation, including Kate Kennedy. Kate is a stroke survivor who worked at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network as a Physical Therapy Supervisor. Because of her work, Kate knew the symptoms of stroke and was immediately able to get help. Her speech was affected and communicating was very difficult, but Kate now has two sons and is doing well today. She is passionate about educating others on the signs and symptoms of stroke. Act F.A.S.T when a stroke occurs – (F) face drooping, (A) arm weakness, (S) speech slurring, and if you see of these symptoms (T) time to call 911.

To learn more about CycleNation, please visit CycleNation.org/NHManchester.

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