There’s no doubt that walking is good for you. The list of mental, emotional and physical benefits is long (read about 12 reasons walking is magic here), but did you know that walking can actually help your heart health? It’s true. Research has shown consistent associations between walking and better cardiovascular health for people of any age, both healthy and with heart conditions. Following are five heart-healthy benefits you can get from a regular walking practice.
Walking lowers blood pressure. Studies on how exercise works in the body have shown that regular and consistent exercise, like walking, is a proven way to reduce high blood pressure. While you’re exercising, your blood flow improves, increasing available oxygen to your working muscles, making it easier on your heart to pump blood through your body.
Walking reduces the risk of heart disease. People who maintain at least a moderate level of fitness are more likely to ward off coronary heart disease, even if you have a family history, or suffer from high blood pressure or obesity.
Walking aids in recovery. If you’re recovering from a heart attack or heart bypass surgery, regular exercise, like walking, can help, lowering the risk of suffering a second heart attack. Of course, like all exercise, this should be done strictly under your doctor’s orders.
Walking reduces your heart’s workload. When you make exercise a regular part of your life, you just may find a reduction in your resting heart rate which decreases the overall workload on your heart. Some studies show that exercise, combined with a low-fat diet and stress management, can even reduce plaques that have built up in the vessel walls.
Walking helps lower cholesterol. Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Combined with good nutrition, having a regular walking practice can boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and decrease unhealthy triglycerides. Keep your blood flowing easily and your cholesterol low with a healthy serving of walking.
How much walking is enough to realize these benefits, you might ask? The American Heart Association recommends moderate-intensity aerobic (endurance) physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week, to promote cardiovascular fitness. Even modest levels of low-intensity physical activity are beneficial if done regularly and long term.
So, add a Jetti Walk to your day. In addition to feeling better, thinking clearer, and getting stronger, you’re also doing good things for your heart.
And, as always, if you are new to exercise, talk to your doctor before starting any new physical activity.