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Heart Disease Survivor Says Crossfit Challenge is for Everyone

Skip Beard was nearing 70 years old when he had the stroke that led to the heart cath that found he had a 78 percent blockage in his “widow maker” artery.

He thought he was healthy, keeping active during the day doing yard work. It wasn’t until the heart stent that he realized the need for more.

“I thought I was doing pretty good,” Beard said, now 71. “My wife had been training with CrossFit for years and wanted me to get a routine going. When I had those issues, it came to my attention that I needed some routine physical exercise daily.”

He’s been training for more than a year now at Singing River CrossFit and feels himself getting stronger and is sleeping better. He found it difficult to say no to CrossFit after his wife tied his gift membership to the Christmas tree in 2017.

He’s getting healthier and he’s also participating in the 2019 Heart Walk to benefit the American Heart Association. He thinks you should, too.

The Jackson County Heart Walk is set for March 30 at Beach Park in Pascagoula. Sign up and festivities begin at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m.

“I think (the Heart Walk) is incredible and necessary,” Beard said. “A lot of attention is being brought to walking. Most people think walking is not enough, but it really is. Even if someone is a little overweight and they are used to sitting around, walking is enough to call it to exercise.”

If you’re interested in health and having a stronger body, he said, you should check out the event details online and participate.

“All you have to do is show up,” he said. “It may start something for you. It might be beneficial for the rest of your life.”

Vincent Jackson, owner of Singing River CrossFit in Pascagoula, said he has been involved with the Heart Walk for three years.

“This year, we got asked to do some small demonstrations and build some team challenges out just to get people involved in the exercise, nothing strenuous,” he said. “It’s thoroughly important, just to get out there and start getting active at least three times a week. We’re looking at prevention. I think what Heart Walk does is open that door.”

Singing River CrossFit’s part in the event “is to come out and show some ways that you can be active, no matter what level you are,” Jackson said. “It could start out with just a walk. It could start out with some step ups or step downs. It could start with some light push-ups against a wall.”

Jackson said the ability to participate in CrossFit isn’t deterred by your level of athleticism.

“Everything builds with functional movements,” he said. “Every day we get out of our cars and reach up into our cabinets. The things we do in CrossFit are based on functional movements and the things we do every day. It doesn’t matter if you are 16 or 71, everything is scalable for your level of fitness. You are working at your level, so you will progress as your fitness level allows.”

Beard said residents, especially those who are sedentary now, should take advantage of the Heart Walk as a springboard to a healthier lifestyle.

“Just make up your mind and do something,” he said. “Take action rather than being sedentary and sitting around. Get engaged and do something. This Heart Walk is the perfect way to start. I think there’s going to be a huge turnout, and hopefully, it will encourage some people who are in their 60s, 70s and even 80s to show up and walk.”

For more information on the Heart Walk Challenge click the flyer below:

heartwalk challenge



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