Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Walking Can Help Your Heart

By Shari Lopatin
TriWest Healthcare Alliance

Regular walking can reduce your chances of heart problems by about 30 percent, according to Harvard Health Publications.

Those results came from the analysis of 18 studies between 1970 and 2007. Study participants who walked 5.5 miles each week began showing benefits to the heart. And the more they walked, the greater the benefits.

So, just how can walking help you live healthier this year?

Heart Health Benefits of Walking
While countless activities are available to try—such as cycling or yoga—walking has the lowest drop-out rate, said Health Coach Meghean Cook of TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Regular walking will:
Lower your risk of heart disease
Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol, while raising your good (HDL) cholesterol
Help maintain your weight
Lower the risk of obesity
Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

In addition, did you know walking fast 35 minutes a day, five days a week, will make you feel better if you’re depressed?

A Harvard Health study published in 2005 proved such activity had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression. If walking five days a week is too often, you can substitute it for 60 minutes a day, just three times a week, for the same results.

Start a Walking Club!
If you’re tired of walking alone, or need new motivation to get up and move, why not start your own walking club?

The American Heart Association will “walk” you through the steps at

If you’re not up for starting your own, you can also browse nearby clubs based on your zip code. Walking clubs aren’t only a positive way to improve your health, but help those around you. They can also develop into a great social bonding experience with new or existing friends.

Want more healthy living tips? Visit TriWest’s Healthy Living Portal at