Walking makes good sense for your heart

Walking just makes sense: It can lower your blood pressure, prevent weight gain, improve your cholesterol and more.

It’s a heart-friendly exercise that you can do just about any time you stop your truck.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, and walking can be a great way to meet that standard.

Getting Started

Comfortable clothes and supportive shoes are all you need to get started. The AHA recommends loose, layered clothing and shoes specifically designed for walking or running. According to the AHA, your shoes should have 1/2 inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

Walking Form

Begin with short distances and increase your time and distance as you build endurance. You can break your walk up into shorter sessions instead of doing one long walk, depending on your personal preference. Your head should be lifted with your shoulders relaxed. Keep your stomach tucked in and let your arms swing at your sides naturally. Control your breathing and slow down if you can’t talk or catch your breath.

Staying Consistent

According to the AHA, you should warm up by walking at an easy, even pace for the first several minutes. Slowly increase your pace as your muscles warm up. You can walk at an even pace or walk in intervals, speeding up for one stretch and slowing down for another and repeating, or vice versa.

Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or diet program. If you experience pain during your walk, stop immediately and consult your physician to determine the cause of the pain. Always stay hydrated.