Walking is good for your heart!

Deanne Stein Health Guide

    Finally, spring has sprung in my neck of the woods.  It seems like I try to rush it every year. For example, I'll clean the winter coats and put them away only to get them back out when the temperature drops again.  Or, I'll plant a few flowers and then have to rush out one night and put sheets over them during an overnight freeze warning.  Yes, two true stories that just occurred in the last couple of weeks.  But now, so far, we have seen some consistently warm and beautiful spring days.  It gets me into that spring fever mode where I want to be outside all the time.  And with my daughter finally holding her head up well, I think I'll start to venture out to our park and take a walk.

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    I've always enjoyed walking.  I remember thinking years ago that it was a waste of time.  I thought unless I was killing myself and breaking a massive sweat, I really wasn't "working out."  But I'm glad to know you don't have to overwork yourself to take care of your heart.  Just getting off the couch and out there is half the battle.  That's why the American Heart Association has started its national walking campaign.  The AHA even designated a Walking Day this month where businesses were encouraged to allow their employees to wear sneakers to work and get up from their cubicles or offices and start walking.

    "The idea of Start! is that companies can use the program to improve employee health and, in turn, save money on heath care expenditures," said Judi Nuckolls, Senior Director of the AHA in West Virginia.  "Currently, we are on a path of decline where, by 2009, most companies will be spending more on health care costs than they will in combined employee wages."

    It makes sense then to start moving.  According to many doctors, walking is the easiest exercise to do with the lowest dropout rate.  It also has a great impact on your health.  Walking just 30 minutes a day for five days a week can actually help you drop weight, lower your cholesterol and steady your blood pressure in as little as eight weeks.

    So maintaining a healthy diet and getting some exercise is still your best defenses to prevent a heart disease or stroke.  Because heart disease and stroke still account for nearly 1/3 of all West Virginia deaths (that's just my state).  Coronary heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States and stroke is close behind at number three.  So, know the warning signs and get out there and stay healthy.  See you on the walking trail!

    Check out this SharePost to learn how to walk for heart fitness and how to burn the most fat.

Published On: April 23, 2008