Improve heart health in 30 minutes a day

When Illinois-resident Lynn Kata stepped on the scale 40 pounds overweight, she knew some things had to change.1

Soda, sugary drinks, and fast food were a regular thing. And exercise? No so much. But she was determined to get healthy.

She started making better food choices. Then she decided to give exercise a try.

“I started walking every morning,” says Lynn. “Each day I went a little farther and faster until I was walking about three miles each time.”

At first, it just felt like a lot of work. But little by little, she started to see results.

Want to keep your heart healthy as you age?

Check your schedule. Can you carve out 30 minutes? Too busy? How about two 15-minutes blocks of time.

In a recent study, researchers looked at walking habits and risk of hypertension in a group of 83,435 women over an 11-year period.2

They found that walking just 30-plus minutes a day can cut the risk for hypertension and heart-related problems by up to 21 percent.

“Our work adds to growing evidence that you don’t necessarily have to be an avid jogger or cyclist to gain health benefits from physical activity,” says lead researcher Dr. Connor Miller. “Just going for regular walks can have a meaningful impact on important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

Here’s what happens when you lace up and go:3

  • 1 minute of walking can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes.
  • 10 minutes of brisk walking burns an average of 50 calories.
  • 20 minutes of walking 5 days a week cuts the risk for heart disease and diabetes in half.
  • 30 minutes of walking a day will burn an average of 7 to 10 pounds of body fat in a year.

Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise you can do to keep your heart healthy.

At 40 pounds overweight, Lynn knew she was at risk for heart disease and other health problems. But she wasn’t about to run a marathon or train for a triathlon. So she just started walking.

“I was thrilled to see that the weight began to slowly go down day by day,” says Lynn. “It felt good to be outside. My mental health was benefitting, too. And I really started to see my body change.”

After about a year of consistent effort, Lynn lost those 40 pounds. And now she’s on a mission to help other people. “I hope my fitness journey will inspire other people to take back their health,” says Lynn.

Pick up the pace and make brisk walking a habit to:4

  • Lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Control blood sugar
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Build cardiovascular strength and endurance
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Burn calories
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your mood

What’s the easiest exercise to keep your heart healthy? Put on some shoes and go for a walk.

Sources

  1. Kata, L. (2020). Success stories: Lynn Kata. National Weight Control Registry. From: www.nwcr.ws/stories.htm
  1. Miller, C., et al. (2020). Walking volume and speed are associated with incidence of treated hypertension in postmenopausal women. Hypertension, 76(5): 1435-1443. From: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.15839
  1. Moore, S., et al. (2012). Leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity and mortality: A large pooled cohort analysis. PLOS Medicine. From: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001335
  1. Harvard University. (2020). Reinvent your walking regimen. Harvard Health Publishing. From: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/reinvent-your-walking-regimen

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