Residents are encouraged to walk away some of what ails them by taking part in the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day today.

Conducted the first Wednesday of April, the annual event promotes the importance of physical activity to heart health.

Physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease but “Physical activity can have a positive impact on high blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight, all of which can be risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” AHA corporate events director Beth Walker said. “Walking can improve health overall and definitely reduce those risks.”

Walking Day encourages people to get up and start moving, she said.

The heart association provides tool kits for companies that want to have employees take part in the day but all are welcome to download the information available online at the AHA’s “Start Walking Now” website.

Employees are encouraged to wear or take sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to walk. Individuals not working are welcome to participate, too, she said.

“People can use the day to jumpstart their commitment to their heart by walking 30 minutes a day,” she said.

The AHA’s “walking” website has a number of features for walkers including a tracker to log times or distances traveled, plot and save walking routes.

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On Twitter: @beckymalkovich

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