The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, will host the Capital Region’s first CycleNation event at Brown’s Revolution Hall, 425 River St., Troy, on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The event will feature 50 stationary bikes taking up the floor, with teams of four to eight already forming to raise $2,000 or more per bike. Upbeat music and activities designed to raise awareness about stroke will complement the evening’s cycling; 11 bikes are already booked, so the Heart Association encourages participants to form their teams and register now.
Cycling will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a one-hour social gathering to celebrate the success of CycleNation.
By igniting New Yorkers to pedal together, CycleNation aims to break the cycle of unhealthy behaviors and advocate for heart and brain health.
“Stroke used to be the No. 3 killer in the U.S., but scientific advances improved that statistic, and now it’s No. 5. Yet, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability in our nation. CycleNation can continue to fund the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s research funding, so that more people can live long and healthy lives,” said Dr. Alan Boulos, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Albany Med and member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Paula Symanski is a stroke survivor, and an avid cyclist. In 2016, when she was the Stroke Ambassador for the American Heart Association, she re-created her ambulance ride from Ellis Medicine to Albany Med on her own bicycle. Symanski is part of the committee that is planning the first CycleNation event in the Capital Region.
“I had to re-learn many skills that people take for granted,” Symanski said. “I think people are aware of the preventative benefits of cycling but may not know that the symmetry and repetition of cycling helps with stroke recovery. It helps with balance, proprioception and retraining muscles affected by stroke. Cycling for me is an equalizer. Sometimes when I am on my bike, I forget that I have deficits left from my stroke. I’m part of CycleNation because there is still work to be done.”
Nearly 81,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In fact, someone in the U.S. dies from stroke about every 4 minutes and from heart disease about once every 84 seconds. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of all Americans and stroke is the No. 5 killer and the leading cause of long-term disability.
Recent studies suggest that physical activity, like cycling, can help maintain strong brain function and mental sharpness. Cycling strengthens heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces cholesterol. Cycling can also prevent heart disease and aid in faster recovery for stroke patients.
CycleNation is a movement to empower Americans to use cycling to help improve their health while raising funds to continue vital community programs and support research to end stroke and heart disease.
To learn more about the “party on a bike,” including information about recruiting a team, how to register and fundraising tips, contact Jessica Pettengill at 518-626-8759 or Jessica.Pettengill@heart.org. Information is also available at CycleNation.org/CapitalRegionNY. A video showing events in other locations can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxT1qgKoNy4.
CycleNation is nationally sponsored by Amgen Cardiovascular. CAP COM Federal Credit Union is a local sponsor of CycleNation.
The CycleNation committee in the Capital Region includes Jack Bevilacqua, Paramedic, Albany County International Airport Fire Department; Amanda Blanchard, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties; Laurie Bryda, State University Construction Fund; Roslyn Cardish, SEFCU; Katrina Dinan; Rosella Elliott, vice president, Steps for Stroke; group leader, Brain Injury Association of New York State Women’s Support Group; Kate Fruscione, CAP COM Federal Credit Union; Bobbi Hammond; Robbie Maccue, Paramedic Captain, Town of Colonie EMS; Paula Symanski, The Community Hospice; and Katie Yarbrough, CSL Behring.