Wearing sneakers can make it more comfortable to spend time walking.

You have a completely legitimate excuse to wear sneakers to work Wednesday: It’s National Walking Day. The American Heart Association is encouraging all businesses to allow dress-down footwear in the name of battling heart disease — research shows that even 30 minutes of walking a day can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

If your employer hasn’t organized a National Walking Day program, it’s not too late to pick a time and round up your co-workers for a quick stroll at lunch. Get suggestions for hosting a rally at Greaterwashingtonheartwalk.org.

A public event will be held in Bethesda at Westfield Montgomery Mall (7101 Democracy Blvd.), sponsored by Adventist HealthCare. Between 8 and 9:30 a.m in the food court, there will be free screenings, giveaways, an appearance by the American Heart Association’s “Heart Man” and, of course, the chance to hoof it around the mall.

You’d better get moving.