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New research published in the journal Circulation indicates that more walking can do a body good. In fact, more daily steps lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially in older adults. The overarching analysis included eight studies, over 20,000 people in total. Activity-tracking devices, such as phones and watches, were used to measure and record the participants’ steps, and CVD events were monitored on an ongoing basis for six years.
Previous research by this study's authors had already linked increased activity to longevity among older adults. Ultimately, they found that step rates between 6,000–8,000 daily steps were associated with a lower risk of death from ALL causes in adults over 60.
We know that exercise is vital to maintaining and improving heart health, and increasingly, we're finding that even small daily changes can lead to major benefits down the road.
The medical world has believed for a while that more walking leads to lower cardiovascular risk because regular physical activity, such as walking, can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce inflammation, all risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, walking can help to maintain a healthy weight, which is also an important risk factor for heart disease.
Walking is a low-impact form of physical activity that is easy to do and can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels.
To begin, start with some simple steps like taking 10-minute walking breaks throughout the day or parking farther from the grocery store can significantly improve heart health. Here are five ways to increase your walking each day:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Park your car farther away from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Take a walk during your lunch break.
- Start or end your day with a brisk walk.
- Make it a habit to walk every day, even if it's just for a few minutes.
In addition to lowering cardiovascular risk, walking also has many other health benefits such as:
- Improved mood
- Improved bone health
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increased energy and overall better quality of life.
It's important to note that to achieve the health benefits of walking, it should be done regularly, for at least 30 minutes a day, for most days of the week. It's also a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health conditions or concerns.