Want to know one of the easiest things you can do for your heart’s health? Just take a walk. Start slow, and begin with short distances, says the American Heart Association. Go at your own pace. Your stamina and confidence will build with time.
Walking Toward Heart Health
According to the American Heart Association, walking is one of the easiest ways to keep you fit and help reduce your risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.
Regular walking can help:
- Improve your cholesterol profile
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase your energy and stamina
- Improve bone strength
- Prevent weight gain
The American Heart Association recommends that adults strive for 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity each week. The AHA also says that even “short 10 minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal.”
You don’t need much more than comfortable, seasonally appropriate clothing and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that exercise will elevate the body’s temperature. Cotton socks can retain moisture and promote blisters, so try to avoid these.
Start slow, and begin with short distances, says the American Heart Association. Gradually increase your time or distance each week by adding a few minutes or blocks to your routine. But don’t try to do too much, too fast, or you can discourage yourself. Keep a good posture: head lifted, shoulders relaxed, and swing your arms naturally. Select a comfortable, natural step.
Make sure to remember to warm up. Start slow and go at an easy temp for the first few minutes. Track your progress. And, at the end of your walk, take the time to stretch when your body is warmed up. Always remember to be safe and know your area. If you wear headphones, keep the volume down so you can still hear traffic and be aware of your surroundings. Wear reflective clothing at night.
Starting a simple walking routine can make for big improvements in your heart health. Get heart-healthy this February and start walking to improve your cholesterol profile, lower blood pressure, and prevent weight gain!
Want to do more for your heart health? Schedule an appointment with a primary care provider. Call 906.228.9440 or use our online Find a Doctor tool to find a provider in your area.