Brisk walking, like any form of exercise, will cause your heart to beat faster. As a general rule, the faster you move, the more your heart rate will increase. For example, running will typically cause a faster heart rate than walking at a leisurely pace. A stronger heart is just one of the many benefits associated with brisk walking and other forms of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise.
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Target Heart Rate
Tracking your heart rate allows you to monitor the intensity of your workout and adjust it accordingly based on your cardiovascular capability. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. A 50-year-old would subtract 50 from 220 for a maximum heart rate of 170.
To determine whether you're exercising within the range of your target heart rate, stop walking to check your pulse at your wrist or neck. Count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply by four to figure your heart rate in beats per minute. Moderately-intense exercise like brisk walking uses about 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, explains MayoClinic.com. Therefore the target heart rate of a 50-year-old while walking at a fast pace would fall between 85 and 119 beats per minute.
Regularly taking brisk walks that fall within your target heart rate can improve your overall health and fitness. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week to reap the maximum health benefits. Swinging your arms while walking can help you reach your target heart rate.
The heart just like any other muscle gains strength from exercise. A stronger heart can effortlessly pump more blood with each beat. The resting heart rate of people who regularly exercise tends to be lower because the heart doesn't have to struggle to pump blood, People who regularly engage in cardiovascular activities like brisk walking have a 45 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than people who don't maintain an active lifestyle, explains University of Maryland Medical Center.
Brisk walking can help lower "bad" or LDL cholesterol while raising "good "or HDL level. Walking or jogging 12 miles a week has been shown to significantly boost good cholesterol. You need to log at least 20 miles per week or about three miles per day to put a notable dent in LDL levels, explains University of Maryland Medical Center. Walking can also manage blood-pressure levels and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- MayoClinic.com; Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health; August 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Exercise Intensity...; March 2011
- American Heart Association; Guidelines; January 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Exercise — Exercise's Effects on the Heart
- Royal Adelaide Hospital Health Services: A Guide for Walking
- Harvard Health Publications; Slower Heart Rate...; December 2008
- MayoClinic.com; Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity; August 2011