Think you have to run your way to a healthier heart? Maybe it’s time to take a walk—every step you take puts you on the path to a healthier heart.
Studies show that the same energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and possibly even coronary heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to really see the benefits. Walking is easy, safe and it works. It’s also one of the least expensive activities—simply lace up your sneakers and go.
For people who make walking part of their daily routine, the benefits are plentiful:
- For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy for some people can increase by two hours.
- Walking as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your heart health.
Take the First Step
If you’re busy or haven’t exercised in a while, start by setting an attainable goal and then work up to 30 minutes a day by increasing your time as you get in better shape. Also, a good rule of thumb: pick something you find enjoyable. You’re more likely to stick with an exercise or activity you think is fun. Consider these fun activities:
- Take the dog for a walk through your neighborhood
- Take a family walk through a local park
- Park farther away from the door in a parking lot
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Window shop
Remember to check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.
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