Here’s How Walking Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Doctors advise that daily exercise plays a major impact in your overall health. The American Heart Association suggests you get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise. One great way to sneak in some moderate exercise is to take a daily walk. 25 minutes of walking each day will help you pass that 150-minute suggestion and keep your heart healthy. But how does walking each day make such an impact on heart health?

friends walking on beach together

Walking can lower your blood pressure. | M-imagephotography/iStock/Getty Images

It gets your blood pumping

The most obvious answer is that walking gets your blood pumping. To have the biggest impact, you need to walk at a brisk pace for a decent amount of time. Anywhere from 3.0 to 4.5 miles per hour is a good walking pace. This means it should take you anywhere between 13 and 20 minutes to complete one mile. Spend at least 25 minutes walking to give your heart the optimal workout. Your heart is a muscle, too, so the more you work it, the better its shape. Exercising your heart will lower your blood pressure in time.

It lowers your stress levels

In addition to being physically impactful, walking can also lower your stress levels. When you stress, your body releases hormones that temporarily cause an increase in blood pressure. But if you’re stressing all the time, that blood pressure gets raised more frequently. Although researchers are still trying to confirm whether stress directly leads to long-term hypertension, they don’t want people taking any chances. It’s important to lower those stress levels to avoid those sudden spikes in blood pressure. Getting fresh air during a morning walk or walking with a friend are both great ways to relieve that stress and keep your blood pressure levels consistent.

In addition to improving stress levels, it can also reduce anxiety, which impacts the heart similarly to stress. Anxiety also causes temporary blood pressure spikes, since your heart beats faster and the blood vessels narrow. Over time, those temporary spikes in blood pressure may cause heart damage. Taking a walk to reduce anxiety symptoms will also help your blood pressure in the long run.

It helps maintain a healthy weight

Walking reduces your likelihood of becoming obese. Getting daily exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which is extremely important for good cardiovascular health. Obesity and hypertension often go hand in hand, since obesity has a direct impact on heart health. Those who are obese have a greater risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, both of which typically come with hypertension as well.

It can also reduce stroke risk

Walking helps lower blood pressure, but it also improves overall heart health. Studies have shown that walking can reduce one’s stroke risk and may even reduce their risk of death by up to 39%, according to NBC. Others studies have shown reduced blood pressure in frequent walkers as well as reduced overall weight and cholesterol levels. If you’re looking for a way to get those 150 minutes of exercise while also improving your mental health, walking is one of the best things you can do.

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