When you walk, do you stroll, or do you march like you’re on a mission. Researchers have found that how fast you walk may play a role in reducing your risk of stroke and heart disease—urging people to get out and walk some every day, but to do it quickly.
Scientists with the British Heart Foundation found that those people who walk briskly or even jog have a significantly lower risk of heart disease including stroke. This is when they were compared with those who walked more slowly or who lived sedentary lives.
The findings shouldn’t come as a surprise—the harder you work a muscle, the stronger it becomes.
Just like you would want to lift dumbbells instead of paperclips to strengthen your biceps, your heart needs a challenge to stay strong and healthy. A brisk walk or jog causes your heart to work harder, beating faster to keep oxygenated blood flowing through the body. And this makes for a healthier you.
Walking slow has its time and place, when you are in it for the peace rather than the fitness. But, because we need to get daily exercise, a brisk walk every evening after dinner, for instance, could go a long way in strengthening your heart and staving off cardiovascular disease.
Another study had similar findings in regards to walking speed and longevity. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the research found that walking speed was directly related to the length of your life, and that those who walked faster generally lived longer. Similarly, regular jogging has been been found to extend life by up to 6 years or more. When compared to non-joggers, the death rate of active joggers is astonishingly low.
There are many additional benefits of walking including: mood elevation, increased lifespan, weight control, and even stress reduction. Like every other health habit, this one takes dedication. But, if you can lace up every day for three consecutive weeks, you will have laid the foundation for a lasting, healthy, habit. What’s more, you can benefit even more by forest bathing – that is, walking through nature.
Of course, you can’t eat what you want, drink like a fish, and think taking a walk will solve all of the medical problems you tempt. Instead, this is only one aspect of a long and healthy life. Eat right and be active everyday for the best results.
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