Why Walking is Good Medicine
Your heart is a muscle that beats 24 hours a day, for a lifetime but like all muscles it needs to be exercised so that it can pump more blood with each beat and save you energy. An unfit heart has more work to do. Then even simple tasks like walking to the shops or carrying the shopping can become quite tiring. If you exercise aerobically, then your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, your heart pumps more blood with each beat and it doesn’t beat as fast. Aerobic exercise is vital for your heart.
Walking is the safest and most effective aerobic exercise for your heart because it is easy to begin a walking programme and easy to keep it up. Walking is an exercise that you can safely do for the rest of your life.
‘Brisk walking is an excellent stamina-building exercise,’ says the Health education Authority in its Look After Your Heart campaign. ‘Your heart will benefit most from the kind of activity that builds up stamina. The vigorous effort of moving your muscles rhythmically creates a greater demand for oxygen in the blood, and more work for the heart and lungs.’
The Health education Authority goes on to say that: ‘Regular activity of this kind improves the balance of fatty substances in the bloodstream, lowers the resting blood pressure level and strengthens the heart muscle.’
Recent research by the British exercise physiologist Dr. Adrinne Hardman and her colleagues at Lough borough
University found that fat level in the blood after a fatty meal were lower in people who had taken a brisk walk the day before. Volunteers who took a two-hour brisk walk the day before a meal had 30 per cent less dietary fats in their blood than when they ate similar food after a day without exercise. And early research suggests similar benefits from brisk walking after a meal. It seems that brisk walking help clear, dangerous fats from the blood and cuts the risk of clogged arteries.