Fitness walking: medicine for boosting your cardiac capacities

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Charles Aisenberg is a doctor at the INSEP, the French National Institute for Sport, Expertise and Performance. He believes that fitness walking offers a host of benefits, notably for the cardiovascular system. So, if you want to get your health back on the right track, now's your chance: fast walking is good for your heart and your health!

We've all heard about cardiovascular disease, which encompasses heart disease and other circulatory problems. Fitness walking is a gentle endurance activity that helps improve your circulation.

Exercising your heart muscle through regular fitness walking is a great way to fight cardiovascular disease. The only way to strengthen it is to make it work harder as you walk. Fast walking allows you to get your blood pressure under control and to avoid or manage diabetes more effectively... in fact, it's the answer to many risk factors and a way to improve your life expectancy!

1 - Controlling blood pressure

Regular exercise is good for your health. It can bring your blood pressure down by 10mm. High blood pressure is often caused by stress, and can lead to strokes.

2 - Managing diabetes

Exercise can prevent Type 2 diabetes developing in people with a glucose intolerance in almost 60% of cases. For those already diagnosed with diabetes, fitness walking can reduce the amount of medication needed and help manage the condition, delaying related complications.

3 - Improving your lipid profile

Walking also allows you to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol! Technically, it's said that walking helps improve your blood lipid profile.

4 - Fighting against obesity

In addition to a healthy diet, moderate exercise such as fitness walking can help combat excess weight. Fast walking is therefore recommended for those wishing to lose weight. Walking increases lean body mass, and slims down your waist by reducing abdominal fat.

Fitness walking and its benefits can significantly reduce the risk of mortality in almost 35% of patients suffering from coronary or arterial disease.

Listen to your heart: the right way to fitness walk and strengthen your cardiac capacities

Your heart is a valuable gauge of your overall health and fitness. If your heart rate is too fast, you will quickly run out of breath and get tired. By combining good breathing techniques with the correct amount of effort, you will take advantage of all the benefits fitness walking can offer your health.

I recommend you walk for at least 20 minutes three times a week, raising your heart rate to between 50 and 75% of your HRmax (Maximum Heart Rate).

To find out your HRmax, you can ask your doctor to carry out a fitness test. You can also calculate it using this method:

For men: 220 – your age.
For women: 226 – your age.

The more you exercise, the lower your resting heart rate will become. You'll also notice your heart rate rises less and more gradually the more you work out. Your heart will become stronger and stronger with regular exercise, meaning you'll be able to push yourself a little bit more each time.

Fitness walking strengthens your heart, and therefore improves your quality of life and lowers your risk of heart attacks.

GOOD TO KNOW

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in France.
180,000 deaths per year are due to these diseases
They are also the third cause of premature death before the age of 65, after cancer and accidental death.

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Walking benefits

It is medically proven that you need to practise regular physical exercise to stay healthy. This is what as known as 'health sport'. Is it hard to choose a particular sport? Charles Aisenberg, a sports physician affiliated with INSEP, recommends fitness walking for keeping fit.

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Walking benefits

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