What is one easy way to improve your heart health and incorporate heart healthy habits into your life– even in the short term? Walking.
This is the conclusion of a study published in Creative Nursing that examined the effects of a regular walking program on improving risk factors for heart disease. The study included 70 women between the ages of 29 and 79. Each woman was given a pedometer, a device that counts steps while walking, to use over a ten-week period. The women were asked to walk for at least 150 minutes per week, roughly 30 minutes per day for five days each week. All participants were tested for risk factors of heart disease before and after the ten-week period, including weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
The results showed improvement in evaluated risk factors for heart disease over this short, ten-week period. In addition, the researchers reported that encouragement and added incentives for group participation increased the amount that participants walked in the final five weeks of the program compared to the initial five weeks.
Here are some tips to create your own regular walking schedule:
- Start slowly and build up gradually
- Walk for 30 min each day
- Use a pedometer or other tracking device to help you achieve your fitness goals
- Join a walking club at the mall or find friends, family, and community members to walk with and keep you on track
Physical activity is an important piece of any heart-healthy lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Get walking!
If you have questions about walking or exercising, talk to your doctor or cardiologist about your specific medical condition. Learn how walking might help you!
- Read the article Regular Walking Regimen Can Improve Heart Health
- Read the journal article Walking for Heart Health: A study of Adult Women in Rural New York
- Learn more about the American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
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