Beginning this month, the McCain Mall and Arkansas Heart Hospital have been teaming up to bring health-related programs to the residents of Central Arkansas.

Walk With A Doc kicked off on March 4 in the Food Court, and will take place once a week from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The free program joins local cardiologists with Fit Heart Mall Walkers for a time to exercise, ask and answer questions and offer support.

According to the American Heart Association, walking is low impact, easy on the joints, and 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Walking can also improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels; maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity; enhance mental well-being; improve blood lipid profile; reduce the risk of osteoporosis; reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer; and reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

"We have a strong partnership with Arkansas Heart Hospital and are thrilled for them to bring this program to our mall," said Melissa Griffith, director of marketing and business development at McCain Mall. "We have been anticipating this program for months, and are very appreciative to the hospital and staff for their hard work. We also thank our talented local doctors who are willing and excited to walk with our mall walkers."

The following cardiologists from Arkansas Heart Hospital Clinic will be at the mall walking with Fit Heart Mall Walkers:

First Tuesday of every month—Dr. Joseph Forney;

Second Tuesday of every month—Dr. Erick Araneda;

Third Wednesday of every month—Dr. Andrew Henry;

Fourth Tuesday of every month—Dr. P. J. Flaherty.

Walk With A Doc began a few years ago in Columbus, Ohio, by cardiologist Dr. David Sabgir, and is now offered in cities across the country. For more information on this national non-profit, visit www.walkwithadoc.org.

The program’s mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages, and reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle in order to improve the health and well-being of the country.

Dr. Sabgir’s walking program is dedicated to encourage people to walk to improve health and well-being.

All Central Arkansas residents interested in joining Fit Heart Mall Walkers can contact Vickie Wingfield, Community Relations Director at Arkansas Heart Hospital, at 219-7305 or by email at vickie.wingfield@arheart.com or can visit the mall’s Guest Services booth for more information and to sign-up for the free program.