Walking for a Healthy Heart
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to enjoy, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is low-impact, which will protect bones and joint, but it is also a valuable aerobic activity that can improve your heart health.
Aerobic exercise raises you heart rate, giving your heart, the most important muscle in your body, a good work out. This will keep it pumping regularly and efficiently. Walking increases your breathing and intake of oxygen. It boost blood circulation as well, which means your heart is able to distribute more oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your body from top to toe.
Better circulation means lower blood pressure. It also means lower cholesterol, which means fewer clogged arteries and less risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), that is, blockage of one or more arteries that supply the heart tissue with life-giving oxygen. Less risk of CAD means less risk of heart attack.
Walking burns calories, builds lean muscle, boosts metabolism, and reduces body fat. Less weight and body fat will often mean lower cholesterol and less wear and tear on your heart and body generally.
If you want to start a walking program for your heart health, your first step is to check in with your doctor. If haven’t visited the doctor in the past year, make an appointment for a complete physical. If you have seen them recently, find out what your blood pressure, cholesterol and other readings were. Note these down in a walking journal you should start to help you keep track of your goals and progress towards them.
Next, explain to your doctor that you want to start a walking program. Given the overall state of your health, ask if there are any special guidelines you should follow.
Start out slowly at first
Add a couple of hundred steps to your regular daily routine rather than trying to do 10,000 overnight.
Observe proper form in terms of posture and stride.
Chin up, chest out, and strike your heel first on the ground and allow your foot to roll up towards the ball and toes.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down.
Stretch before and after each session. Walk at a slower pace at the start and end, and speed up in the middle.
Use a pedometer to log your steps.
It will keep you on target for your 10,000.