Walk 30 minutes and help your heart.

Walk 30 minutes and help your heart.

That's the goal of the American Heart Association's National Walking Day, held the first Wednesday of every April.

The city of Gahanna and the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce jointly are promoting the first organized community National Walking Day at 11:30 a.m. April 3.

Beth McCollam, parks and recreation public-information coordinator, said the public should meet at Creekside, 117 Mill St., to begin the walk. She said various routes would be available, from a half-mile course around Creekside island to a 2-mile route along the Big Walnut Trail.

Abby Cochran, Gahanna's human-resources coordinator, said the city is committed to creating a healthy community, hence its partnership with the chamber to promote National Walking Day.

City employees participate in many wellness-focused activities throughout the year, such as a running/walking club that meets during lunch, and employees have joined them in the National Walking Day over the past two years.

She said city representatives would be at two locations beginning at 11:30 a.m. April 3. One starting point will be Creekside; the other will be in the AEP parking lot, 850 Tech Center Drive.

"Our parks superintendent will mark off one and two mile routes," she said.

Anyone who can't participate in the walk but wants to get active should check some of the programs offered by Gahanna Parks & Recreation, Cochran said.

For instance, she said, the Gahanna Get Moving Team is a walking group that meets every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at Creekside Plaza. Everyone is welcome to participate, including families and there is no charge.

Brianne Harman, central Ohio AHA communications director, said this marks the sixth year for the AHA National Walking Day.

"It was launched in 2008 as National Start! Walking Day and has evolved into National Walking Day through campaign changes at the association," she said. "The day is now part of our 'My Heart. My Life.' campaign."

"My Heart. My Life." is a healthy-behaviors platform, a national movement that calls on all Americans to create and embrace an overall healthier lifestyle to improve cardiovascular health. It's sponsored nationally by Subway and locally by American Electric Power.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans do not engage in regular physical activity, according to the AHA. This inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease, the nation's No. 1 killer, which is largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle, Harman said.

National Walking Day is a call to action for Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle by dedicating at least 30 minutes of their day to walking.

For more information about National Walking Day, call 614-848-6676, email columbuswalk@heart.org or go online to heart.org/nationalwalkingday.