Benefits of Walking for Heart Health

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro August 15, 2011
  • In order to promote heart health you must be physically active. Many people know this yet they avoid physical activity because they are thinking this means a gym membership, spandex, and everyone watching them trying to use equipment they have no idea how to operate. If this is you, it's time to change your thinking.

     

    Simply taking a daily walk has many benefits without the risk of embarrassment.

     

    Benefits of Walking Daily include:

     

    • Decreased risk of heart disease or stroke.
    Lower LDL cholesterol
    Increased HDL cholesterol
    Reduced blood pressure
    • Weight management - Increases daily calories burned

    • Decreased risk of colon cancer and diabetes (may protect against breast cancer)
    • Promotes reduced joint swelling and pain from arthritis
    • Reduced anxiety and depression - improves your mood
    • Promotes better stress management
    • Boost energy levels
    • Improves self-esteem
    • Keeps muscles, bones, and joints healthy (if you don't use it, you lose it!)
    • Improves quality of sleep

     

    How Long of a Walk

     

    To see benefits you need to walk at least 30 minutes daily. I'm not referring to a leisurely stroll while window shopping. If you want to see benefits you need to pick up your pace. A brisk walk is the goal.

     

    You can break the 30 minutes down into 10 minute segments, such as a 10 minute brisk walk to work, a 10 minute brisk walk home, plus a 10 minute brisk walk after your evening meal.

     

    What Do You Need

     

    The beauty of walking is that you don't need to purchase a ton of equipment or secure a gym membership. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes and you can be off. If you have any health concerns I encourage you to consult your physician prior to beginning a walking regime.

     

    Obstacles to a Daily Walk

     

    I know there are some locations where walking outside may not be safe. This may be due to the location or the weather. (You don't want to be walking when it's icy out and risk a fall!) This may require some extra thinking on where you can go on a regular basis for a brisk 30 minute walk. Check out your local malls, schools, and community centers to learn what they offer. Many times they have hours set aside just for walkers.

     

    Be sure to sign up for the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Lifelong Habits at http://hearthealthmadeeasy.com.