Walking has all sorts of health benefits among them the ability to help lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart. Many people at risk for stroke and heart disease are overweight, unhealthy and have a hard time exercising. Thankfully walking is an easy, low-impact workout that almost anyone can do.
Start where you’re at. Just put on your shoes and head out there. If all you can do is walk for five to ten minutes, start there. It’s a great start and that’s a lot more exercise than you’ve been getting. Stick with it for a week and then see if you can make it for 15 minutes.
If you can go for a 30 minute walk, start there. Pick up the pace, walk briskly and after a week or two, try to go for 45 minute walks. Or break up your walking workout into 3 shorter sessions interspersed throughout your day.
If you have any health conditions and in particular, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure and are at risk for heart disease, discuss your walking plans with your doctor. The two of you can come up with a plan that’s appropriate and safe for you.
Getting out and walking will help you on several different levels. The act of walking itself, particularly if you can go for a walk out in a pretty park is very relaxing and will lower your blood pressure soon after the walk. That’s a terrific benefit of walking and something that will help you feel better right away. But the benefits don’t stop there.
The regular exercise will strengthen your heart. Remember your heart is a muscle and going for a brisk walk works out more than your leg muscles. As you work out your heart, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through your body. And as you strengthen your muscles and your body overall, you are likely losing body fat. That’s good news for your blood pressure long term. All it takes is heading out there for a short little walk each day. As you get stronger those walks will get longer and you may even give swimming or riding your bike a try.
Healthy diet, regular exercise, and losing weight are some of the most effective ways to reduce hypertension regularly. Add to that the fact that walking helps you destress and it’s no wonder that walking regularly has such beneficial effects on your health. Ready to get started? Put on your shoes and go for that first walk.