Health & Fitness | February 18, 2021 12:55 pm

Study: A Healthier Heart Starts With at Least One Walk a Day

According to a recent University of Oxford study, going for a stroll can help you reduce your risk of heart disease by 30%

couple walking on a beach
If you're intimidated by starting a new fitness regimen, just start with a walk.
Charles Cheng/Unsplash

According to a recent study published in PLOS Medicine, even the lightest increase in physical activity each day could offer massive rewards for your heart health. A team of researchers at the University of Oxford accessed biometric information from more than 90,000 men and women who had worn fitness trackers for the UK Biobank (a database that holds health and lifestyle details for half a million Brits), and analyzed how their daily activity impacted their risk of heart disease.

If it feels like somewhat elementary knowledge that working out would help your heart, that’s because it is. But the scientists were looking to answer more granular questions. For instance: What’s the least amount of exercise an adult can do to better their heart health? Does working out too much pose diminishing returns for heart health? And does gender play a role at all?

Their research confirmed that moving from a lifestyle of zero activity to one that’s slightly more active can drop the risk of heart disease by an astonishing 30%. People in the least active group didn’t formally exercise, and rarely walked, so it’s likely that just committing to a daily walk would improve one’s chances of a healthier heart.

Meanwhile, in opposition to previous research that suggested a lifetime of vigorous exercise could tax the heart, this study found that those who hit it hard all week — walking, running, biking and the like — actually are the least likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease. Consistent movement is the body’s best defense against a premature death. And across the board, gender does not play a role.

How can you incorporate these findings into your own life? We recommend starting with a daily constitutional, and getting outside, even in the winter. Your heart will thank you later.

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.