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How Much Should You Walk To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease?

What is exercise? Is it the same as an activity level?


Exercise is when you set aside a certain time in a structured way to keep your heart and muscles working harder than they usually do intend to develop their capacity. Activity is more about how you spend your time in the day. If you exercise for an hour every morning and sit at a desk the rest of the day, your activity level is still low and you are classified as a sedentary person. If your work involves you walking throughout the day, then you are an active person. Both activity and exercise are important components of heart health.


Reducing the risk of heart disease is not just about how much you walk, it is also very important to ensure that at least a part of the steps you take are distributed evenly throughout the day and another part is done in a manner to push your heart’s capacity with continuous exercise.



Does how much you have to walk depend on your age or body type?


No. While the amount of time you exercise may be linked to how much weight you can lose, the benefits of exercise and walking are not just from the calories you burn. You may have the right Body Mass Index and still have high levels of blood sugar or pressure.


The purpose of exercise walking is to elevate your heart rate too high enough levels, to build strength for your heart. As you keep exercising, the level of exercise you need to continue building the heart capacity will increase. As you get older, the level of exercise your body can tolerate starts getting lesser.


As for activity, no matter your body type or age, maintaining activity levels throughout the day prevents the risk of developing heart and metabolic diseases.



So, how much should you walk to reduce your heart attack risk?


As we discussed above, the answer is not a single one. It is making sure of ALL of the following 3 points:

  • Walking a total of 10,000 steps a day
  • Moving at least for 5 minutes after every hour of sitting or lying down
  • At least 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise that pushes your body at least every alternate day.




DR. Alkesh Jain
Cardiac Care
Meet The Doctor
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