Walking Helps Your Heart and Arteries

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Doing more steps each day will help you have the wanted waistline, keep your energy level up and improve your mood. Also, your arteries will thank you. People who find their motivation to exercise regularly are more likely to have flexible and more elastic arteries, while sedentary people are more likely to have stiff, hardened arteries, which are associated with heart disease and its complications

Higher physical activity levels may have a positive effect on arterial flexibility, according to a recent study meta-analysis in Hypertension. Using data from 10 previously published studies, the researchers looked at the number of steps per day that people took, along with the stiffness or elasticity of their arteries, which the researchers measured using a technique called pulse wave velocity.

Healthier Arteries with Extra Steps

Researchers found people who were the most physically active — those who took more than 10,000 steps per day — seemed to have the most elastic arteries (based on the pulse wave velocity measurements), while those who were the most sedentary — those who took fewer than 5,000 steps per day — appeared to have the stiffest arteries. Every additional 1,000 steps per day that people took may have had positive effects on arterial elasticity, even among sedentary people, the research suggests.

There are also benefits to taking a greater number of steps or even fewer steps although many people strive for 10,000 steps daily. study author Catrine Tudor-Locke, PhD, professor and associate dean of research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences affirms: “More is generally better, so 10,000 is better than 5,000, and 7,000 is probably better than 5,000,”.

Little steps count

Dr. Jerry Fleg, a medical officer in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s division of cardiovascular sciences affirms: “There is nothing magical about walking 10,000 steps per day, which is approximately 5 miles,”. “Many studies have shown benefits in reducing cardiovascular disease events with substantially lower levels of activity, although there is generally a greater benefit at higher activity levels.”

If the idea of walking 10,000 steps per day seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Fleg says“Any amount of activity is beneficial, and some activity is better than none,”. “A recent study of elderly sedentary women, which used step counts as the measure, showed more steps/activity, even when not meeting 10,000 steps, was associated with significantly decreased risk of premature mortality.” You can build your way up to more steps over time, even though you start with just a 10-minute walk.

In conclusion

Even though there isn’t a set number of steps per day that may lead to arterial improvements, walking more is good for your overall health, and it may also help your arteries become more flexible. Tudor-Locke notes that further research is needed to see if walking significantly more than 10,000 steps per day could have an even greater benefit on arterial health. “At the end of the day, this study is just one more piece of evidence that suggests walking more is beneficial for your health.”

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