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Why Walking Can Help Your Heart

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Walking on a regular basis can reduce our chance of dealing with heart related problems by about 30 percent, according to Harvard Health Publications.

Those results came from the analysis of 18 studies between 1970 and 2007. Study participants who walked 5.5 miles each week improved cardiovascular health. And the more they walked, the greater the benefits.

While countless activities are available to benefit our health, walking has the lowest drop-out rate, said Health Coach Meghean Cook of TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

Regular walking will:
· Lower your risk of heart disease
· Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
· Lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol, while raising your good (HDL) cholesterol
· Help maintain your weight
· Lower the risk of obesity
· Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

In addition, walking fast 35 minutes a day, five days a week, can make you feel better if you're depressed.

A Harvard Health study published in 2005 proved such activity had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression. If walking five days a week is too often, you can substitute it for 60 minutes a day, just three times a week, for the same results.

There are a variety of ways to keep ourselves engaged and motivated to walk. If you're tired of walking alone, or need new motivation to get up and move, why not start your own walking club?

The American Heart Association will "walk" you through the steps at www.mywalkingclub.org.

If you're not up for starting your own, you can also browse nearby clubs based on your zip code. Walking clubs aren't only a positive way to improve your health, but help those around you. They can also develop into a great social bonding experience with new or existing friends.

Visit TriWest's Healthy Living Portal for healthy living tips at www.triwest.com/HealthyLiving.