Pick Up the Pace to Walk Off Heart Disease

Walking quickly may provide greater benefits.

Pick Up the Pace to Walk Off Heart Disease

A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that if you up your pace to a sweaty, aerobic stride you fight off cardiovascular disease more effectively. Over the two years of this study, walking at an average pace (just under 3 miles an hour; but not slow) for at least 150 minutes a week reduced participants’ risk of all-cause mortality by 11 percent. However, up that pace to 3.1 to 4.3 miles per hour and you’ll slash your risk by 24 percent. If you’re older than 60, you will reduce your risk of death from any and all cardiovascular causes by 53 percent (average-pace walkers reduce their risk by 46 percent).

Want to walk faster? Start with interval walking, combining five minutes of average pace with two minutes of brisk/fast pace; repeat four times. As that becomes comfortable, decrease time spent at average pace and increase the brisk pace. Your goal? Sustained fast pace for 30 minutes. And as you walk…

  • Maintain good posture; don’t move arms too vigorously, or too little.
  • Gaze at the ground about 20 feet ahead of you, not down.
  • Tighten your core; breathe from your diaphragm.

Push off your toes, land on your heels. Don’t use ankle or hand weights.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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