Take a stand against heart disease.  Ditch your desk, get up from your chair and take a walk for 30 minutes on Wednesday, April 6, National Start! Walking Day. That’s the call to action from the American Heart Association, with support from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine who will lead City and County employees on a walk following a rally at noon.  Companies in Downtown Seattle are invited to join the walk.

All across the nation Americans will be called upon to incorporate 30 minutes of walking into their day, and employers called upon to encourage their employees to participate.  In the Seattle area, more than 25 companies have committed to give their staff a walking break.

Americans are working longer hours in more sedentary careers, increasing their susceptibility to health risks.  A person is 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have coronary heart disease if he or she is inactive, but walking vigorously for 30 minutes a day can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Anyone can be part of National Start! Walking Day.  Information about walking routes, including distance, path type and difficulty can be found through a link at www.PugetSoundHeartWalk.org. Walkers can also upload their favorite walking paths to share with others through May 20 and enter a giveaway for a free pair of Brooks running shoes. A new smartphone application from the American Heart Association, the free Walking Paths app, enables users to find, tag and “like” more than 2,500 walking paths across the country.  The app is now available for GPS-enabled Android smartphones, and will be available for iPhone and iPad users via iTunes on May 1.

Companies can access the free Start! Walking Day tool kit via www.PugetSoundHeartWalk.org.

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