Put one foot in front of the other and repeat, for a total of eight hours a week, and you may just lower your risk of suffering a stroke. The key is walking longer, not faster.
“Certainly it’s one of the things I highly recommend to people. It’s gentle enough on the joints and it also can be done at various levels, various distances,” says Jenni Muench, wellness and fitness expert with Lee Memorial Health System.
Building up to an hour or more a day. A recent study followed men over 60 for more than ten years and found walking reduced stroke risk by a third. “Sign me up” you might think, but not so fast, if it’s been a long time since you exercised, if ever.
“I would tell my clients to start out fairly slow. If they haven’t done it before, maybe starting with 10-15 minutes at a pretty low intensity,” says Muench.
When it comes to stroke, there are several risk factors - some including age, race and family history - we have no control over. But others we can impact. One way is to boost physical activity. And walking is about the cheapest, easiest way.
“Go ahead and walk the mall maybe or in the park. Being outside is very good,” says Muench.
Whether strolling outside or inside on a treadmill, walking for a long stretch requires form.
“Correct posture is just making sure the shoulders are down and back and that you’re relaxed in upper body, chest out,” says Muench.
Like the tortoise and the hare, the one who moves slow and steady, may be victorious in the long run.