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Saturday's Grand Rapids Heart Walk seeks to raise money, awareness

The leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease -- so the American Heart Association of West Michigan is hoping to raise awareness and save lives through an annual Heart Walk this Saturday.

Heart Disease remains the leading cause of death, for both men and women, in the United States. And, in many cases, it is completely preventable.

The American Heart Association of West Michigan hopes to raise awareness and help save lives through its annual Grand Rapids Heart Walk to be held this Saturday.

Organizers are are expecting roughly 1,000 people to come and help support the cause. The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's premiere fundraising event. It's also a great way for people to get some steps in on their own heart health fitness journey.

According to Cindy Bouma, communications director for the American Heart Association of West Michigan, "walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. The benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for as little as 30 minutes each day can help reduce the risk of heart disease."

Experts say walking will improve circulation; reduce stress and anxiety, increase optimism, improve muscle tone and strength; lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure; and help with weight loss when combined with energy balance.

Bouma says one in two men and one in three women are at risk for heart disease, and poor lifestyle is often a major contributor.

"People can cut the genetic effect of obesity in half by walking briskly for an hour a day," she said. "Only 15% of Americans meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, every week."

The Grand Rapids Heart Walk takes place Saturday, September 30th at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. Check-in is at 8 a.m. The event starts at 9:30 a.m. There is also a Pet Walk area for people who want to bring their dogs.

The Grand Rapids Heart Walk is free. However, any money raised goes to help fund research and awareness efforts, so donations are strongly encouraged.

Registration is still available and people can also just show up the morning of the event.

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