The American Heart Association wants people to lace up and get moving on National Walking Day, on Wednesday, April 1.

These days, we’re spending more time at work and sitting in front of a screen than ever before. We're becoming less active, which can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases.

Simply walking has many health benefits. Research has shown that every hour of regular exercise can add about two hours to life expectancy, even if you don’t start until midlife. Plus, physical activity can relieve depression, improve your memory, lower your blood pressure and help prevent obesity.

On the other hand, being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are the nation’s leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability. They account for about one of every three deaths each year and more than $300 billion a year in health-related costs including lost productivity.

Adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and kids should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. But 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, according to an American Heart Association survey. Statistics show that people tend to stick with walking more than other forms of exercise. That’s why the association promotes walking as one of the simplest and most effective ways for everyone to get moving.

How can you get involved in National Walking Day? Promote National Walking Day to colleagues, coworkers, friends and family. Put red laces in your workout shoes so that “every tie reminds us why” you’re walking. Post a photo of your red laces on our Facebook page (AHA Wyoming) and join the discussion on social media using the hashtag #AHALaceUp and #LifeisWY. And, simply stand up and walk on April 1.

Physical Activity Facts:
* Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950, and physically active jobs now make up less than 20% of our workforce, down from 50% in 1960.
* Our average workweek is longer. Full-time workers in the US work about 47 hours each week – that’s more than 350 extra hours worked each year.
* Adult (and childhood) obesity/overweight level continues to increase: 69% of all adults are obese or overweight.
* One in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963, and childhood obesity is now the top health concern among parents in the United States.
* Half of all adults and more than 60% of children do not get daily vigorous physical activity.

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The SouthWest Affiliate serves a 6-state region: Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter