A 20-Minute Walk Can Help Your Heart

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that walking an extra 2,000 steps each day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 8% for people with impaired glucose tolerance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics and people with impaired glucose tolerance are at significantly higher risk for cardiovascular disease. And while previous studies have shown that 15-20 minutes of additional walking or movement can be helpful for regulating blood sugar, this is the first study to show cardiovascular benefits — the same daily 20-minute walk that helps you control your blood sugar can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular-related deaths.

It may seem insurmountable to incorporate an extra 20 minutes of activity into your day, but it doesn’t have to be a tremendous obstacle. Here are some easy ways to be active for an extra 20 minutes per day:

  • Park farther away when shopping, and take the farthest away parking space at work
  • When shopping, take an extra lap around the store or mall before you start to fill your cart
  • If you park in a parking garage, try parking on a higher floor and taking the stairs
  • If possible, try to keep part of your lunch break at work free for a ten or fifteen-minute walk
  • If you have a dog, take him or her outside one extra time per day
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Keep walking on an escalator rather than standing in place
  • When watching TV, do simple exercises like jumping jacks, crunches, or push ups during commercial breaks
  • Walk or pace around while talking on your cell phone

Small changes add up. Don’t feel like you have to add in 20 minutes all in one shot — while one fairly brisk 20-minute walk is ideal, you can still see benefits from several shorter bursts of activity.

+ Learn more about managing diabetes in our outpatient classes

+ Need help getting active? Check out Bon Secours In Motion

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