A new study published in the American Heart Association Journal, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, suggests that a brisk walk might be as good as a run for keeping the heart healthy.
"Investigators evaluated over 33,000 runners who were participating in the National Runner's Health Study and over 15,000 walkers who were part of the National Walkers' Health Study over a six year period. All of the participants were aged 18-80, with the majority in their 40s and 50s.
The research subjects answered specific detailed questionnaires regarding aspects of their physical activity, and the researchers were able to determine how much energy they expended according to the distance they reported running or walking. They also reported any pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or diabetes that were previously diagnosed by medical providers. The results of the study showed that the participating diabetic patients were able to reduce visceral fat solely through exercise and without changes in their diets, which might lower their risk of heart disease."
The researchers concluded that while running required higher energy levels than brisk walking, both resulted in a parallel drop in incidences of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes during the study period. In addition, the benefits for reducing heart disease risk were greater the more the research subjects walked or ran.
According to the study's authors, both walking and running target the same muscle groups, which could explain why their results in improving heart health are so similar.
"Here is a rundown of the specifics from the study: Running decreased the chances of having elevated cholesterol by 4.3%, while walking reduced the risk by 7%. Running reduced the risk of diabetes by 12.1%, while walking reduced the risk by 12.3%. Running reduced risk for elevated blood pressure by 4.2%, while walking reduced the risk by 7.2%. Running reduced the risk for coronary artery disease risk by 4.5%, while walking decreased it by 9.3%."
Find out more details about the study here.
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