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Walking Heart Cure Adds Years To Your Life–Healthy Exercise

Hadley’s Intro: What if you could take extra steps each day to add years to your life? See how much daily walking can save or prolong your life in this guest post —

By Dr. Mark Stengler

Fitness isn’t about how fast you move, how much you sweat or how many expensive gym toys you own.

It’s about moving — moving each day, and throughout the day, even if it means just getting up and going for a walk. And if you add 2,000 steps to your daily routine right now, your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke will drop by nearly 10 percent, according to one new study.

That’s not 2,000 steps per day total, but 2,000 steps on top of how much you already walk — or roughly 20 extra minutes on your feet each day.

I don’t think 20 more minutes of walking is too much to ask of anyone. Most people can and should walk a lot more than that — because the study of 9,306 pre-diabetics from 40 countries finds the risk falls by another 8 percent for every 2,000 extra steps.

In other words, adding a one-hour walk to your day — on top of any walking you do already — will slash your heart risk by more than a quarter, according to the study in The Lancet.

Now, some people might be surprised to find that an incredibly light and easy activity such as walking could have such a big benefit.

Not me.

This is right in line with the rest of the research on walking, with another recent study finding that walking less than 150 minutes a week will increase your risk of an early death.

Walk more, and that risk will fall. If you meet that minimum standard (and 150 minutes a week is pretty minimal), you’ll be 11 percent less likely to die than someone who doesn’t.

And if you exceed it, your premature death risk drops by a third.

If you’re ready to get started, pick up a pedometer. Some are so cheap they’re given away as part of store promotions. Others will cost anywhere from a couple of dollars for a basic model to $100 or more for one that will track your moves on your computer or phone.

Once you have it, wear it for a few days before you make any changes to your routine to see how much you walk now. Then, get to work on increasing those activity levels.

Start by adding those 2,000 extra steps recommended by the new study… then 2,000 more… and 2,000 on top of that.

Aim for 10,000 steps per day or more, which studies have shown can help boost your health and decrease your risk of death. Just bear in mind that other studies have found that too much sitting can undo the benefits of exercise — so don’t settle for one long walk each day.

Get up and get walking as much as you can throughout the day.

(To learn how you could walk your way to perfect blood sugar too, click here.}

And for maximum health benefits, be sure to do something a little more strenuous several times a week — something that gets your heart racing and blood pumping.

Yes, that means exercise — but it doesn’t have to be gym exercise. Dancing, running, biking, skating, tennis and hiking all count, so feel free to pick something you enjoy, and then make a habit out of it.
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Hadley Finch

About Hadley Finch

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