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Take A Walk for a Healthy Heart: Here’s How Many Steps It Takes

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Take A Walk for a Healthy Heart: Here’s How Many Steps It Takes about Genesis

Could walking an additional 500 steps – roughly a quarter mile – have an impact on your heart health?

The answer is a resounding yes, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023.

And that's great news for all of us who doesn't love vigorous exercise.

Key Takeaways

  • Walk for a healthier heart: gain the many benefits of improved cardiovascular health

  • Motivate yourself to get moving and reduce your risk factors with regular walking

  • Set achievable goals, stay motivated & take safety precautions for successful walking routine!

Walking for Heart Health: The Basics

Walking is a powerful way to boost heart health, raising heart rate, enhancing blood circulation, reducing blood pressure, and strengthening the heart with regular use.

To achieve optimal heart health, it is recommended to engage in 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate physical activity per week. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all at once! Break it down into manageable daily or weekly sessions and explore other physical activities, like yoga, swimming, or dancing, to keep your exercise routine fresh and enjoyable.

Strengthening Your Heart with Walking

Walking can do wonders for your heart. Regular walking for 30 minutes or more daily can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type-2 diabetes by up to 35 percent and 40 percent respectively. This helps you keep a healthy and active lifestyle.

Walking can also dramatically improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and energy levels, and fight weight gain to significantly improve heart health overall.

Best of all, even if you can't walk for 30 minutes or more daily, walking just 500 steps can make a big difference in your overall health.

Walking 500 Steps Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease

Researchers found that for people aged 70 and older, walking 500 steps was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart failure.

Equally significant, each 500-step boost was associated with a lower risk of any heart event. Researchers deduced that increasing one’s steps from 2,000 to 4,500 resulted in a 77 percent lower risk of any cardiovascular event.

Most studies have focused on younger adults with daily goals of 10,000 steps, which may not be realistic for some older people.

“While we do not want to diminish the importance of higher intensity physical activity, encouraging small increases in the number of daily steps also has significant cardiovascular benefits,” a University of Alabama researcher notes.

“If you are an older adult over the age of 70, start with trying to get 500 more steps per day.”

This is great advice for people who harbor an all or nothing mindset. Your health journey starts with just one step, or 500 steps in this case.

Moderate Physical Activity: Walking Fits The Bill

Moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is essential in reducing the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. Engaging in moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, cycling on level ground, and water aerobics can help you reach a moderate physical activity level, where your heart rate is 50 percent to 60 percent higher than its rate when you are at rest. To promote physical activity, lace up your shoes and let’s get moving!

Not only does the right walking pace offer numerous health benefits, but it can also help preserve your bone density, especially if you have osteoporosis. Keep your bones strong and enjoy your favorite physically active pursuits with a regular walking routine.

Walking Lowers Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Being aware of cardiovascular risk factors is essential, as they can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight, and can reduce your blood pressure, contributing to cardiovascular disease prevention.

One of the greatest benefits of a walking program is its ability to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, which can clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

So, step up your daily walking routine and get moving towards a healthier heart. In addition, walking can also lower blood pressure.

Walking and Blood Pressure: A Healthy Combination

Regular walking can have a significant impact on blood pressure, with studies showing an average reduction of 4.11 mm. Hg in systolic blood pressure and 1.79 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. This reduction can help combat cardiovascular disease and improve overall heart health.

Committing to regular exercise, including walking, can be a powerful tool in helping you manage your blood pressure and improve your cardiovascular health.

Mental Health Benefits of Walking

Walking not only benefits your physical health, but also improves your mental well-being and lifts your mood.

Regular walking can help ease symptoms related to chronic mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, as it stimulates the natural release of endorphins, promoting relaxation and a better mood. Plus, walking can provide your mind with healthy stimulation and sensory distraction, potentially reducing anxiety symptoms in another way.

So, take a brisk walk and boost your mental health and your mood while improving your heart health simultaneously.

Walking for Disease Control and Prevention

Regular physical activity, like walking, can help decrease inflammation all over the body, which is essential in disease control and prevention. We've long written about how a regular walking program can increase your overall health and add years to your life by protecting your telomeres-- the endcaps on cells that keep your genetic material healthy over time.

The right walking behaviors can also help prevent and manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, anxiety, dementia, and Type-2 diabetes. In fact, we've written in the past about using a walking program called interval walking as an effective way to lower high blood sugar.

Can Walking Help You Sleep Better?

Numerous studies show that walking can reduce stress and improve mood, which results in better sleep. Including one study published in the journal Sleep Health.

Tips for a Successful Walking Routine

Embarking on a walking journey is the first step towards better heart health. To make your walking routine successful, start off slowly and set achievable goals, plan out your weekly routine, stand tall, hold your head up, lift your chest, and keep track of your progress.

We're big fans of walking here at Green Valley Natural Solutions and promote walking to virtually everyone at any fitness level. In fact, we've written about establishing a successful walking routine several times in the past, including this article on Five Ways To Make Walking Fun.

Follow these tips for a successful walking routine, and you’ll be sure to see results in the mirror and in your heart health in no time!

Setting Goals

Setting goals is crucial to help individuals stay on track and realize long-term success. Goals provide a source of motivation and guidance, and assist individuals in monitoring their progress. Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals is the key to making the most of your walking experience.

A great walking goal to strive for is the American Heart Association’s recommendation of walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. By setting attainable and inspiring goals, you’ll set yourself up for success and enjoy the many heart-healthy benefits of walking.

Keeping Track of Your Walking Program

These days keeping track of your steps has never been easier.

Indeed, there are a variety of fitness trackers and fancy watches that can offer step count and a myriad of other health markers, such as heart rate and exertion.

Also, most smartphones support a free step-tracking health app. Or you can go old school with a simple, inexpensive pedometer. Similarly, you can map out a ¼ to ½ mile walking loop at a community track or in your neighborhood.

Ultimately, a ‘system’ that feels right for you is the best way to track your distance and pace.

Current federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise a week. If that figure sounds daunting, consider breaking your walks into smaller chunks during the day. Those ten to 15-minute walks can add up.

Staying Motivated

Staying motivated is essential for a successful walking routine. Set yourself up for success by setting rewards for when you reach your goals, find a walking buddy to keep you accountable, and make your walks more enjoyable by listening to music or podcasts.

Finding an accountability partner, such as a friend or family member, or joining a walking group or online community can be a great way to stay motivated and get some extra accountability. Celebrate your successes and keep going, knowing that every step you take is a step towards better heart health.

Safety and Comfort

To ensure a safe and comfortable walking experience, it’s essential to walk facing traffic, cross at pedestrian crossings, wear bright clothing, and stay aware of your surroundings. Additionally, avoiding distractions like phones and walking on well-lit surfaces can help you stay safe.

Opt for shoes that provide the right amount of support, dress in layers to stay warm and dry, and make sure to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. With these precautions in place, you can enjoy a safe and effective walking routine.

Walking for Heart Health in Different Age Groups

Walking is beneficial for heart health in all age groups, including apparently healthy adults, young adults, and seniors. With the right precautions and supervision, walking can be a safe and effective way to improve heart health for older adults and those with pre-existing heart conditions.

Before beginning a walking routine, older adults and those with pre-existing heart conditions should consult with their GP for advice on how to safely build up their activity. Start slowly and gradually increase activity levels, and be mindful of any warning signs of overexertion, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.

With the right guidance, walking can be an enjoyable and heart-healthy activity for everyone.

Easy Ways to Walk More

As mentioned above, an activity tracker can be a great tool to offer insight into your current activity levels. But that’s not the only way to keep yourself accountable.

We're big fans of scheduling walking dates with friends. The added social benefits make it something to look forward to instead of dreading. And somehow, the steps seem much easier when you’re catching up with a pal.

You can incorporate many step-boosting tricks into your lifestyle, such as parking a little farther away in the parking lot or getting up and moving during each television commercial break.

Also, it bears repeating that walking isn’t the only game in town. If you hate walking but love swimming, that’s what you should do. The best exercise is the one you’ll do.

We suggest making small, achievable goals. You don’t want to feel discouraged when you don’t succeed at an overly ambitious goal.


In conclusion, walking is a simple yet powerful way to improve heart health and overall well-being. By incorporating regular walking sessions into your daily routine, you can experience numerous benefits, such as reduced blood pressure, strengthened heart, and improved mental health and mood.

Best of all, the latest research shows that 500 steps a day is enough to positively impact your heart health. So, take the first step and embark on your journey to better heart health today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you strengthen your heart by walking?

Walking offers many benefits for heart health, such as improving cholesterol levels and blood pressure and fighting weight gain. Speed walking can help strengthen your heart by increasing the heart rate and is easy on joints. And interval walking can lower blood sugar. Even small increases in daily walking can provide short-term cardiovascular gains.

How long should I walk to help my heart?

Get your heart rate up and reduce your risk of disease by taking a 30-minute walk every day. If that's too much for you, as little as 500 steps a day will improve your overall heart health.

How much walking is good for your heart?

Walking 6,000-9,000 steps daily has been linked to a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease for older adults, with each additional 1,000 steps offered more substantial protection. Of course, for many people this isn't realistic from a physical fitness standpoint or time in the day. That's why it's important for you to know that according to The American Heart Association, as few as 500 steps a day can dramatically improve heart health.

How does walking benefit my mental health?

Walking can boost your mood and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by naturally releasing endorphins. Take a stroll to gain mental health benefits!

What are some safety tips to follow while walking?

Stay alert, wear bright clothes and cross pedestrian crossings for safety when walking. Additionally, stay aware of traffic and avoid distractions like phones or music to stay safe.

American Heart Association. News Release.

Inciardi, Riccardo M. et al. “Cardiac Structure And Function And Diabetes-Related Risk Of Death Or Heart Failure In Older Adults.”. Journal Of The American Heart Association 11 (6): e022308. doi:10.1161/JAHA.121.022308.

Garcia L, Pearce M, Abbas A, et al. Non-occupational physical activity and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality outcomes: a dose–response meta-analysis of large prospective studies. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2023;57:979-989.

Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans 2nd Edition. 2019.



Telomere Activation Complex And Mitochondrial Enhancement Matrix.


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