Walking is by far one of the easiest, and cost effective ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. Pastors’ spouses and parishioner participants in NCPS’ Atlanta Heart Truth pilot are witnessing incredible results using this secret weapon: ‘walking and drinking water’. In addition to reports of weight loss and body mass index reductions, church- goers in the pilot program have become more aware of how walking can help reduce cardiovascular risks.
Merely walking four days per week has been shown to strengthen the heart muscle, increase your heart rate, and increase blood circulation throughout your body. Walking also increases your lungs’ ability to take in oxygen for an overall better feeling.
So, how much walking are Americans doing on average? Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only 1 in 18 people, who say walking is their chief exercise, were doing enough.
- 78% walked for 30 minutes or more when they walked
- 34% walked at least 4 times a week
- 26% walked at moderate intensity (3.5 miles per hour or faster)
- Only 6.7% met all three goals
Experts recommend 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking in your quest towards a healthy heart. Beginners, however, are encouraged to clock 2,000 steps a day, and then gradually increase their steps over time to 10,000 steps per day, which is the norm. To gauge the number of steps walked per day, it is best to invest in an inexpensive pedometer (steps counter), which can be worn throughout the day on your belt, pants or skirt.
Do not begin any exercise or walking program without first consulting your doctor or medical care provider.
Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).