After a health screening that showed his cholesterol and blood pressure were too high, Bluffton resident Peter Kraft decided to make some changes.
The Eastern regional vice president of CareCore National said he's always been athletic and was never a big fan of junk food. But Kraft did eat a lot of red meat. So after hearing the results of his tests about a year ago, he started walking regularly and eating a healthier diet.
But the road to health hasn't always been easy for Kraft. Despite his efforts, he suffered a heart attack in September 2011 and underwent coronary artery bypass surgery.
"I have heart disease in my family so there are certain things you can't control," Kraft said.
Never miss a local story.
Although he can't change his genetics, Kraft is doing everything he can to avoid another heart attack.
He now walks almost four miles a day. He plays golf whenever he can and likes to walk on the beach on the weekends. He has cut most red meat out of his diet and is very careful about what he eats.
Thanks to these lifestyle changes and a little help from medication, Kraft's blood pressure and cholesterol are now normal. And as a bonus, he's lost about 12 pounds.
Because of all his hard work over the past year, Kraft recently received the Lifestyle Change Award from the Lowcountry chapter of the American Heart Association.
Director of development Judy Caramello said about 20 people were nominated for the award.
Helen Ryan, CareCore manager for community outreach, nominated Kraft for the honor.
"I thought that what Peter has done for himself, based on his recent heart issues, was the best way to demonstrate to our 1,300 employees that you, too, can change," Ryan said.
Kraft, 51, said it's never too late to make lifestyle changes. He will begin weight training soon and also plans to buy a kayak.
"Being able to walk this past Saturday in the Heart Walk definitely has new meaning," Kraft said about the 2012 Low Country Heart Walk, which took place March 31. "And to be recognized by the Heart Association is an honor."
The American Heart Association offers these suggestions for achieving a healthy lifestyle: