Get Walking for Heart Health

When Nancy Sinatra crooned the lyrics “these boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do,” she might have been protecting her romantic heart. But her advice can also do wonders for your physical heart health. Walking has been linked to numerous heart health benefits and it’s something simple that most of us can incorporate into our day, even when you don’t have access to a gym.

Strengthen your heart

Walking briskly for up to 30 minutes each day can help increase blood flow and prevent and control high blood pressure, which can cause strokes — reducing your risk by up to 27 percent. While we always advocate getting up and moving, the rate at which you walk has been shown to have an effect on your cardiovascular health. Researchers in a 2017 study found that people who were slow walkers were twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who were brisk walkers. In fact, another study found that brisk walking is as good for your cardiovascular health as running, reducing your risk of heart disease by 9.3 percent.

Reduce the risk of diabetes

Walking briskly for a half-hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent. Type 2 diabetes is a growing hazard for North Texas with Palo Pinto County having the highest percentage per population of diabetics in North Texas, followed closely by Hood, Somervell, Parker, Wise and Hunt counties.

Reduce the risk of developing breast cancer

An American Cancer Society study found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer after menopause than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. As an added perk, the study also found that walking provided protection even for women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.

Ease joint pain

Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. For those who already have arthritis, a new study found that briskly walking for one hour a week (less than 10 minutes a day) reduced the risk of walking too slowly to safely cross a street by 85 percent and the risk of not being able to do daily living activities, such as bathing and dressing, by 45 percent. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.

Someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases every 40 seconds. In North Texas alone, heart disease claims the lives of roughly 35 percent of the population — more than all forms of cancer combined. Texas Health works with the American Heart Association (AHA) to increase awareness of heart disease and to fund research to manage this often-silent killer. One of the biggest awareness and fundraising events is the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Gather your friends, family, kids, neighbors and even Fido to take a stand against heart disease and stroke and walk with us in the 2019 Dallas and Fort Worth Heart Walks on Saturday, Sept. 14 and the 2019 Denton Heart Walk on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Location information:

Dallas

Base of Reunion Tower

300 Reunion Blvd. E.

Dallas, TX 75207

Denton

H. Collins Athletic Complex

1500 Long Rd.

Denton, TX 76207

Fort Worth

Will Rogers Memorial Center

3401 W. Lancaster Ave.

Fort Worth, TX 76107

Rain or shine, the Texas Health team will walk 1-mile or 3-mile courses at 9 a.m., after the opening ceremonies at each race.

AHA’s goal is to raise more than $7 million to improve heart disease and stroke education and to support the more than $10 million in research projects being conducted in North Texas. If you are unable to walk, but would like to donate, you can make a difference while earning a tax deduction! You can support a walker or a team, or give directly to AHA.

Your support does make a difference. AHA has helped reduce cardiovascular mortality by 70 percent since 1968.

Please register for the Heart Walk today. The life you save could be your own.

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