Heart disease: How much should you walk in a day to cut your risk by 30 percent?
Walking is an exercise that helps to make your heart strong. iStock
Heart disease includes heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Each of these diseases poses a serious danger to life. But the good news is they are all preventable, and it’s possible to reduce the risk of a heart attack and high blood pressure.
We all know that regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. According to the NHS, a strong heart can pump more blood around your body with less effort. The reason is that the heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle in the body, it benefits from exercise.
Even though heart disease is a leading cause of death globally, health experts say that the condition is preventable. In fact, a new study has suggested that a certain amount of walking per day can reduce a person’s risk by 30 percent.
The National Library of Medicine cites walking can play a key role in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, large observational studies consistently show associations between walking and cardiovascular disease (CVD) endpoints over long periods of follow-up.
Walking also appears to have CVD-related health benefits in people who are younger, middle-aged, and older men and women, in both healthy and patient populations.
So just how much walking a day will reduce your risk of heart disease?
According to Harvard Medical School, just 21 minutes of walking a day can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, reports The Express. Walking for 21 minutes a day is the equivalent of two and a half hours per week.
When it comes to walking for heart health, some walking is better than none (more is even better). But if you’re not physically active, start with 10 minutes of brisk walking, and gradually build up to the recommended amount, mentions the Heart Foundation.
Walking is reported to have a profound impact on heart health because it is a form of cardio, which means it is an exercise that helps to make the heart strong. While being an effective exercise for heart health, it is also one of the easiest forms of physical activity that can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
One of the best things about walking is that it is free of cost and is as easy as it sounds. To help you get in the daily amount of walking that will benefit your health, the Heart Foundation recommends walking activities that include taking your dog for a walk, walking the kids to school, jumping on a treadmill, or just walking around your local neighbourhood.
The impact of walking is so great that the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tom Friedman has described it as a “wonder drug.”
As part of a review to synthesize and summarise data on walking and cardiovascular risk, Harvard Medical School is reported to have said, “Done correctly, it can be the key to losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, boosting your memory, as well as reducing your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.”
According to the review, walking can reportedly improve mental health too. “A number of studies have found that it’s as effective as drugs for decreasing depression. It can help relieve everyday stresses, too,” added Harvard Medical School.