By Lisa Herrick
Dr. James Beckerman did not originally intend to become a cardiologist motivating people toward a healthy heart lifestyle. However, during a vacation with his future wife’s family while in medical school, his future father-in-law experienced a fatal heart attack. It was at that moment that Dr. Beckerman vowed to dedicate himself to the prevention of heart disease.
Now, he is a cardiologist and medical director at the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute as well as an author of two books. The premise of his most recent book, “Heart to Start: The Eight-Week Exercise Prescription to Live Longer, Beat Heart Disease, and Run Your Best Race,” will be the focus of his free presentation at Saint Martin’s University Worthington Center on Thursday, May 14, sponsored by the Providence St. Peter Hospital Regional Heart Center.
All attendees will receive a copy of his book, which is a simple, encouraging and informative weekly guide to help transform personal health and create more active lifestyles. Dr. Beckerman has helped hundreds of his own patients achieve better heart health. Now he aspires to show more people how to live a healthy heart lifestyle through simple aerobic and resistance workouts.
“I want to inspire people to be the best version of themselves and to succeed in that effort. One way to do that is through becoming more active. I think that unfortunately exercise and activity has taken on a certain branding that is only about losing weight and looking a certain way. I believe being the best version of ourselves is much more than that. We can all become a healthier version of ourselves with the proper inspiration and information to make the necessary changes in our lives,” Dr. Beckman shares.
The book is organized with easy to use timetables, self-evaluations and specific goals to get people moving. It is full of relatable personal stories and encouraging tips. In addition to his book and upcoming presentation in Olympia, Dr. Beckerman hosts a Facebook page and a Heart Health Challenge group that provides encouraging and educational information as well as training plans for those running toward their heart health.
Heart disease kills more people than any other cause, but Dr. Beckerman professes that people can control about 80 percent of their risk for the disease. While not smoking and healthy diets help reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, according to Dr. Beckerman he believes that exercise is the least prescribed and most effective heart treatment. And health care professionals, like himself, should be motivating and coaching patients on how exercise can create a healthy heart.
“I feel like a lot of people are left out by the health and wellness movement because it focuses on people who are already healthy and well. The important message that I want to share is that my presentation and book are for everyone. If you feel like you have a common heart condition or are at risk for heart disease, I want you to feel included in the Heart to Start Program and wellness movement toward healthier heart living,” explains Dr. Beckerman.
“I want to rebrand wellness, exercise and fitness so that doctors and health care providers feel confident prescribing exercise. My focus is on making exercise enjoyable, achievable and inclusive,” he summarizes.