How does walking strengthen the heart?

Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health. Walking is a great way to introduce more physical activity into your life, as it is well tolerated by people at many different physical fitness levels and ages.

Physical activity such as walking can improve heart health by limiting the following disease states:
  • high blood pressure
  • blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) abnormalities
  • stroke
  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
What’s more, even if you already have heart disease, physical activity can help prevent further heart disease and may allow you to live a healthier and longer life.

Before beginning a walking program, discuss safety and goals with your doctor. If you have a history of heart disease, your doctor may want you to have a stress test prior to starting physical activity. A stress test monitors and records your heart’s electrical activity during exercise to determine the effects of exercise on the rate and rhythm of your heart.
The heart is a muscle with fibers that contracts and pumps blood with each heartbeat. During exercise the heart becomes more efficient and delivers more oxygen and nutrients to other organs. Regular walking can reduce the risk of a heart attack, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise (good) HDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, helps manage weight, and improves your mood.
Walking is not only good for your heart; instead it will be great for your heart! Walking will increase your heart rate which is a good thing. Your heart is a very strong muscle and in order to keep our muscles strong, they need to be put to work. When you heart is pumping, it will pump blood to your muscles and oxygen will also be pumped to your muscles. This result will help keep your heart strong and healthy so be sure to stay active!
Walking increases the amount of blood the muscles in your legs need to move. It is the hearts job to pump more blood to the cells, so with increased activity the heart has to pump more blood by increasing heart rate. As the heart gets stronger it will send out more blood with each heart beat decreasing a person’s exercise heart rate. This trains the heart to become a more efficient and stronger pump.