You know that regular exercise is one of the best methods to lose or maintain weight. It can also boost your mood and help ward off depression or anxiety. But logging more steps per day also directly impacts your cardiovascular health, warding off disease and increasing longevity.
Many studies have shown that a daily walk (and more activity in general) lead to healthier lives and lowered risk of disease. But specifically, those who exercise daily have more flexible and elastic arteries. Because stiff arteries are one leading contributor to heart disease, activities that promote elasticity can help you keep your heart healthy.
So, how much walking is necessary, in order to reap the benefits for your heart health? A new meta analysis in the journal Hypertension sought to answer that very question. Using data from ten previously published studies, analysts compared number of daily steps taken by participants, and compared those to measures of arterial elasticity using a technique called pulse wave velocity.
The results clearly showed a positive correlation between number of steps taken daily and results from the pulse wave velocity test. Participants who took more than 10,000 steps daily had the most elastic arteries, while those who took 5,000 or fewer steps had stiffened arteries.
While 10,000 steps or more per day is ideal, any additional activity above your normal levels is likely to improve your cardiovascular health. Even among fairly sedentary study participants, taking just an additional 1,000 steps per day had a positive effect upon their arteries. So if you can’t always reach 10,000 steps per day, 6,000 or 7,000 is still helpful.
Since 10,000 steps per day translates to five miles, that might feel like a difficult goal to achieve. But keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to log all five miles at once, in one dedicated sweat session. Wear a pedometer or use your smart phone to track steps, and take small measures to increase your activity level each day. Get up and walk around during breaks, park farther from the grocery store entrance, walk a few laps on the track during the kids’ soccer practice, and go for a short walk after dinner each night. On weekends, try hiking nearby trails.
Every step counts, and you really can walk your way to better health and a longer life. But if you need more tips on fighting the aging process, warding off disease, or losing weight, we’re here to help. Give us a call and we can help you put together a plan for your own best results.