Exercise for the heart – 1. Walking

When it comes to simple ways to bring more exercise into your life, walking is one of the best things you can do.

It does not require special skills or expensive equipment. And it works in virtually any weather.

Scientific studies have shown that 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week

 

◦reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer

◦improve blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels

◦increase energy and stamina

◦increase mental and emotional well-being

◦improve bone strength and reduce osteoporosis risk

◦ prevent weight gain

If 5 x 30 minutes sound like a lot to you, then you will be pleased to learn that even short 10-minute activity intervals are worthwhile in terms of health. And with training, you can gradually increase. You can also add several short 10-minute units a day. And: it does not have to be jogging. For the health of your heart, regular walking units have been proven to bring great benefits.

You are unfit and want to start? Maybe a good time would be on vacation, if you have some time and the leisure to start something new?

Get started:

All you need are comfortable clothes a pair of good comfortable shoes. Start with a walk that feels comfortable (maybe 10-15 minutes) and increase your time or distance. If it’s easier for your body and schedule, remain with several 10- to 20-minute walks a day instead of a long walk. Hold your head up (no SMS!), because then the abdominal muscles are activated and the shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms and stay at a comfortable, natural pace.

Breathing:

If you cannot talk or breathe while walking, slow down. Forget about the speed first. Pay attention to your breath. The rule of thumb is: If you can still sing, you are walking too slowly, if you cannot talk anymore, you are walking too fast. Find the pace that works for you.

Warm up in the first few minutes at a light pace. Then gradually increase your speed.

When you have finished your walking unit, stretch the thighs, calves, chest, shoulders and back.

It is even more fun to walk regularly in a group or accompanied by a dog. Both result in fewer excuses to let the whole thing fade away again. Another good motivation is music. I find my walking units much easier with my favourite music playing in my ears. The beat makes me more cheerful and time passes by in a flash.

If you still want to run after work in the evening, leave the running shoes in front of the sofa – as a reminder. And think about how you can reward yourself for another successful unit. It takes about 28 days to make a new habit a permanent habit. That is not very long, right? Start now, it’s vacation time, the days are long and the weather is good…

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