Physical activity has a positive effect on cardiovascular risk factor and having said that, what better way than walking to stay fit. Wondering why? That’s because, walking is a cardio exercise that helps us maintain weight, cholesterol levels and aids bone strengthening. In addition to that, walking reduces the risk of heart problems by around 20-25 per cent in post-menopausal females.
There are researches citing the relationship between walking pace and heart diseases, stating, the stay of hospitalization was less in fast walkers as compared to slow or intermediate speed walkers. Approximately 50 percent people with slow walking speed admitted to the hospitals once in 3 years, however, 40 percent people with intermediate walking speed got admitted to hospitals once in 3 years, and this rate is as low as 30 per cent in fast walkers.
10 Prime Health Benefits of Walking:
- It helps to maintain cholesterol, by increasing the good cholesterol and reducing the bad one.
- Walking helps in controlling diabetes.
- Walking helps in weight management, thereby reducing pressure on the joints.
- It helps in improving the cardiovascular system.
- It helps in osteoporosis and strengthens bones.
- It controls blood pressure.
- It improves endurance.
- It helps in reducing the dangers of brain stroke.
- It aids in lung fitness.
- It helps to fight stress.
How Does Walking Speed Affect the Risk of Heart Disease?
Walking, as we discussed, is of three kinds. Brisk walking, the speed of which is about 5 km in one hour; Intermediate walking, the speed of which is about 3 km in one hour; and Slow walking, the speed of which is 2 km in one hour.
Benefits of Brisk Walking:
Brisk walking is highly recommended for the healthy heart, as it helps to lose 800-850 Kcal per week. Furthermore, it cuts down the risk of heart failure to half. It has been observed that brisk walkers are moderately active in leisure activity like drinking moderately, less or reduced smoking which helps to control obesity. It may be noted that brisk walking and running create the same energy and makes one lose the same amount of calories.
High walking speed also helps to control Type 2 diabetes. One with diabetes becomes prone to developing cardiovascular disease and stroke. By walking, diabetes can be controlled, and so, the chances of stroke.
- Brisk walking helps to lose visceral fat that is around the organs like liver and kidney. This fat creates problems like liver enlargement, fatty liver, heart problems and stroke.
- Brisk walking is associated with enhancing high density lipid that is good cholesterol in comparison to slow speed.
- It also helps to reduce the belly fat and controls obesity by 5 per cent.
- Brisk walking is beneficial during pregnancy, as it helps in improving overall body condition and prepares the body for labour pains.
- Those who prefer fast walking have lesser hospital stay as compared to intermediate or slow walkers. Fast walkers have 35-40 percent of lesser chances of hospitalization.
- Brisk walking helps to improve artery health, thus decreasing the chances of cardiovascular problems.
Benefits of Slow Walking:
Slow walking can reduce cholesterol and low density lipid. It helps in weight management in the elderly age group, as obesity may result in heart failure. Slower walking can help in losing weight effectively in comparison to fast walking with minimal impact on joints. Brisk walking may cause joint pain, especially in osteoporotic person and this may break the regularity and increase heart problems due to increased weight, cholesterol and diabetes.
To Sum Up:
Brisk walking at least 5 days a week helps in reducing the cardiovascular problems. Fast walkers are twice more prone to deaths from heart problems as compared to slow walkers due to breathlessness or fatigue, but, otherwise, brisk walking is preferred as the chances of hospitalisation are less due to its benefits. Walking pace can be an indicator of heart related death.
General Walking Tips and Precautions:
- Try to avoid outdoor walking in extreme climate. Hot humid climate can be a hindrance in the circulation, thus causing chest pains.
- Start slowly when restarting the walking after vacations.
- Stop walking when feeling excessive tiredness or breathlessness.
- Stop walking when you feel heart palpitations. Check the pulse after 15 minutes of rest. If still, you feel the heartbeat is above 120, consult the doctor.
- Do not walk if you feel pain at the jaw, chest, neck and arm.
- Diabetic patients should eat a little in between if you feel any dizziness.
- Can brisk walking be a reason for shin pain?
New walkers can suffer from the problem of shin pain. This could be due to improper footwear and tight muscles. This can be a hindrance to the walking. One should go for stretching of the muscles. Try to stand on the heels and afterwards on the toes. Footwear should be comfortable. Use flexible and proper sole shoes. Do ankle toe pumps. Apply ice packs after the walks.
- What should be the correct way of walking?
Always start with warm-up phase that includes 10 minutes slow walking. After this, start with 20 minutes of brisk walking. Then, end the cycle with cool down phase that is 10 minutes of slow walking. One can gradually increase the time and the walking speed. It is better to go for at least 45 minutes-walk 5 days a week.
- Is brisk walking safe for heart patients?
It is safe, in fact, a treatment for heart patients. One should take certain precautions. Exercise carefully in case of extremes weather like hot, humid and extreme winters. Try to use indoor activities like the treadmill. One should immediately take a break if you feel breathlessness or chest pain.
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Walking speed affects the risk of heart diseases. Brisk walking helps to increase the high density lipids which are a good cholesterol whereas slow walking helps to reduce cholesterol and low density lipids. People with regular brisk walking are less affected by heart problems as compared to slow walking people. Less death is reported due to heart problems in brisk walkers than slow walkers.