February is American Heart Month, and Friday, February 5th is National Wear Red Day! While we normally think of our valentines during this month, the American Heart Association is focusing on how heart health is important for yourself and your sweethearts! Join the cause with us as we encourage the visibility of heart health among Americans.
Here are 5 ways that your heart benefits from walking – whether it is outside in your neighborhood (brrr in February) or inside on your treadmill desk.
- Walking is just as good as running!
Don’t feel bad that you haven’t become a marathon runner yet. A study at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California said that walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running. Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day can improve your heart health!
2. Walking makes your heart stronger.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Walking reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Why is that the case? Walking is great cardio exercise and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). The Stroke Association says that a 30-minute walk every day can reduce the risk of stroke by 27%, just because it can keep your cholesterol in check.
3. Walking boosts your energy.
Give your body a natural boost of energy by walking. “Get your heart pumping” is not just a saying. It’s the truth! Walking improves your circulation and increases the oxygen supply to every cell in your body. These physical processes can make you feel more energized, focused, and happier.
4. “Walking is a man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates
Hippocrates was one smart guy! Walking has held strong as a great form of exercise for 2,400 years! Three Harvard studies found that walking 9 miles a week was linked to a 22% lower death rate. Walking 30 minutes a day was linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary heart disease. A study that followed nurses found that when they walked 3 hours a week was linked to a 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death and 34% risk of stroke. Those extra steps a day keep our hearts healthy!
5. Walking clears your mind.
Believe it or not, anxiety and heart disease – not just heart attacks – are correlated. The effects of anxiety on the heart can cause tachycardia, increased blood pressure, and decreased heart variability. Panic attacks and heart attacks even have the same symptoms, with one being obviously more dangerous. Walking to clear your mind, to keep you stress free, and keep you grounded keeps anxiety levels down, which is good for your heart and health.
Everyday it seems there is a new fitness fad or craze that people are lining up to try. When you see all of this research though, it’s amazing to think about the staying-power of the simplest exercise: walking.
This Friday, the Rebel Desk team will be wearing red and walking our usual walk to support the American Heart Associate’s efforts. We want to help keep everyone’s hearts healthy and happy! Join us and tag yourself on your Rebel Desk using #GoRedWearRed!