ALSO READWhy sitting may be bad for your heart Antidepressants may up death risk: Study Power walking: The new-age miracle workout that takes only 30 minutes a day EU Brexit chief preparing contingency plan for 'possible' failure Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 motorcycles globally over brake failure
Walking for at least 40 minutes several times per week at an average to fast pace is associated with a near 25 per cent drop in the risk of heart failure among post-menopausal women, according to a study.
The benefit appears to be consistent regardless of a woman’s body weight or whether she engages in other forms of exercise besides walking.
About 6.5 million adults have heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, researchers said. The risk of heart failure rises with age; women 75-84 years of age are three times as likely to have heart failure compared with women 65-74 years old, they said.
“We already know that physical activity lowers the risk of heart failure, but there may be a misconception that simply walking isn’t enough,” said Somwail Rasla from Saint Vincent Hospital in the US.
“Our analysis shows walking is not only an accessible form of exercise but almost equal to all different types of exercise that have been studied before in terms of lowering heart failure risk,” Rasla said.
“Essentially, we can reach a comparable energetic expenditure through walking that we gain from other types of physical activity,” Rasla said.
The study, which analysed walking behaviour and health outcomes among 89,000 women over a more than 10-year period, is the first to examine, in detail, the benefits of walking by parsing the effects of walking frequency, duration and speed.
It is also the first to specifically focus on the risk of heart failure among women over age 50.