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Olympian Jennie Finch Tells You How to Walk Off Major Calories

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Olympian Jennie Finch wants to inspire you to step up your game. (Photo courtesy of the American Heart Association)

Do you think you could burn a billion calories? You might need a little help–but the American Heart Association (AHA) has you covered.

With over 300 scheduled Heart Walks taking place in 2012, the AHA is determined to help Americans on the path to collectively burn more than one billion calories before 2020. The national campaign is called the Billion Calorie Count-UP, and leading the way alongside the AHA is Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch.

“As an athlete I know how important being fit is,” Finch told FITNESS in an exclusive interview during the official kick-off event. “I also know how much motivation it takes to stay fit!"

Now retired from softball, Finch has a new role as a mother of two boys. She has had to find different incentives to stay healthy and active since hanging up her mitt. “Working out used to be my job. Now it’s my priority,” she says.

The AHA aims to help Americans walk towards a healthier life. The president-elect of the AHA, Donna Arnett, shared some sad stats about America’s current fitness state.

“Heart disease is so preventable,” Arnett says. “If you make it to 50 years old and you have a normal blood sugar and cholesterol level your chance of heart disease is five percent. Only one percent of our population fits into that category.”

So the AHA has its sites set on improving America’s overall health and heart disease prevention by 20 percent by 2020! And it all starts with a simple 30-minute walk per day. It’s not always easy to get started, but as Jennie told us, when you have a team to work with it suddenly becomes much easier. After running her first marathon she raved about the success of a running group.

Having a finish line or goal to work toward, and someone to work toward it with, can create a level of fun to the challenge of being healthy. The AHA is organizing walking groups and community walking paths across the country for anyone who’s looking to join! Head to the website,, to find a heart walk, trail or group in your area.