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Walking For Heart Health: Benefits Of Walking Quickly

Walking For Heart Health: Benefits Of Walking Quickly

According to a report that cites the Philippine Statistics Authority, heart disease remained the leading cause of death in the country in 2021. Fortunately, there is hope for people with heart issues such as heart failure. Walking for heart health is one of the ways to serve your body best, as it improves your physical and mental wellbeing. To understand how this simple act helps, we will look into heart failure how exercise affects it.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure, also termed congestive heart failure, is when the muscle of the heart can’t pump blood properly. This causes blood to back up and fluid to accumulate in the lungs.

It is caused most often by coronary artery disease, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes. You are at risk if you are 65 years old and older, are overweight, or have had a heart attack. Men are also more likely to develop heart failure than are women.

Later we will explain why walking for heart health is a good idea.

Symptoms of heart failure

Heart failure presents in the following ways:

  • Shortness of breath (while moving or when lying down)
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Swollen legs, ankles and feet
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Less ability to exercise
  • Persistent cough, wheezing with white or pink traces of blood in sputum
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid accretion
  • Nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Reduced concentration and alertness
  • Chest pain (if heart failure is caused by heart attack)

Walking for heart health can alleviate these symptoms.

Why should I be walking for heart health?

A recent study conducted by researchers from Brown University found that people who do quick walking had 30% less chances of developing heart failure than do those who walk slowly.

The study involved 25,000 female participants followed over the course of 17 years. It found that participants who walked 2 to 3 miles (about 3.2 to 4.8 kilometers) were more protected from heart failure by 27%, compared to those with average walking speeds of under 2 miles per hour.

Those who maintained a faster pace (over 3 miles an hour) were less likely to suffer heart failure by 34%.

According to chief researcher Dr. Charles Eaton, this confirmed other studies that showed how important walking speed is to reducing mortality and other heart-related outcomes.

Walking for heart health need only be done for a shorter time than other types of physical activity – 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes five days a week.

How does physical activity benefit my heart?

One of the best way to prevent heart attack and stroke is to keep moving, avoid smoking and maintain the proper weight for you.

The pros of physical activity also include higher “good” HDL cholesterol levels, healthy weight maintenance, reduced blood pressure, and blood sugar regulation. Walking for heart health could also boost the number of smaller blood vessels through which blood can pass if major coronary arteries are blocked. These are called collateral blood vessels.

In fact, in an earlier study published in the scientific journal Circulation, researchers found that two years of exercise training four to five times a week improved oxygen uptake by 18% and 25% better “plasticity” in the left ventricular muscle of the heart. This is particularly useful for middle-aged people with heart failure leading sedentary lifestyles.

Key Takeaways

Walking for heart health is one of the best ways to improve your overall physical and mental fitness. Heart disease is the top killer in the Philippines and so merits a change in lifestyle for people at risk (i.e., the elderly, overweight people, those who have suffered heart attacks, or have coronary artery disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure). Walking quickly combats heart failure thereby reducing mortality and other cardiovascular outcomes.

Learn more about Heart Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Heart failure, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142#:~:text=Heart%20failure%20occurs%20when%20the,to%20appear%20blue%20(cyanotic).. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

Walking quickly reduces risk of heart failure, researchers claim, https://www.diabetes.co.uk/news/2022/jan/walking-quickly-reduces-risk-of-heart-failure-researchers-claim.html. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

Physical Activity Helps Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw114892. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

Reversing, the Cardiac Effects of Sedentary Aging in Middle Age – A Randomized Controlled Trial, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030617. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

Heart Failure, https://medlineplus.gov/heartfailure.html. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

Heart disease remains top cause of death in PH in 2021: PSA, https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1168439. Accessed 7 Mar 2022

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Written by China Logarta Updated Apr 07
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza