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question

How does walking strengthen the heart?

Jonathan Penney
Jonathan Penney on behalf of National Academy of Sports Medicine
Fitness
answer

Walking is not only good for your heart; instead it will be great for your heart! Walking will increase your heart rate which is a good thing. Your heart is a very strong muscle and in order to keep our muscles strong, they need to be put to work. When you heart is pumping, it will pump blood to your muscles and oxygen will also be pumped to your muscles. This result will help keep your heart strong and healthy so be sure to stay active!

SecondsCount.org
SecondsCount.org
answer
Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health. Walking is a great way to introduce more physical activity into your life, as it is well tolerated by people at many different physical fitness levels and ages.

Physical activity such as walking can improve heart health by limiting the following disease states:
  • high blood pressure
  • blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) abnormalities
  • stroke
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
What’s more, even if you already have heart disease, physical activity can help prevent further heart disease and may allow you to live a healthier and longer life.

Before beginning a walking program, discuss safety and goals with your doctor. If you have a history of heart disease, your doctor may want you to have a stress test prior to starting physical activity. A stress test monitors and records your heart’s electrical activity during exercise to determine the effects of exercise on the rate and rhythm of your heart.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.