Take Your Heart for a Walk

04 February, 2014

Wondering if your walking routine is robust enough to really help your heart? Wonder no more.

Research has revealed that walking can do as much to keep you out of heart trouble as more vigorous forms of exercise, such as running, playing tennis, or doing pretty much anything that makes you break a sweat. In one study, women who walked briskly for 2.5 hours per week reaped the same heart disease protection benefits as women who did more intense exercise for the same amount of time.

When it comes to walking and heart health, speed and frequency count. Yes, strolling is better than sitting, but you get the most benefits if you really step out -- ideally for 30 minutes a day, most days. Exercise lowers heart disease risk in many ways. Walkers and other regular exercisers experience less cardiovascular aging: they have fewer heart attacks and strokes, they have lower blood pressure, and they have higher blood levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol. And the benefits add up fast. In as little as 90 days, doctors can actually measure the age-reducing effects.

SOURCES: Walking compared with vigorous exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular events in women. Manson, J. E., Greenland, P., LaCroix, A. Z., Stefanick, M. L., Mouton, C. P., Oberman, A., Perri, M. G., Sheps, D. S., Pettinger, M. B., Siscovick, D. S., New England Journal of Medicine 2002 Sep 5;347(10):716-725.

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