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Is Walking Enough to Lower Blood Pressure?

The American College of Sports Medicine holds an annual conference in which physicians and researchers discuss the benefits of exercise and physical activity on heart health. One study from Korea shows that 40 minutes of daily walking can lower blood pressure. Another, from the U.S., shows that walking provides cardiovascular benefits to obese individuals. While walking alone won’t lower blood pressure, it will reduce a person’s stress levels. So, the question is: how much walking is enough to lower blood pressure?

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The answer is probably yes. The Cochrane Review of the effects of walking on blood pressure included 73 studies, which assessed the effects of moderate physical activity on blood pressure. It also looked at the impact of 20 to 40 minutes of walking per day. The results showed that moderate-intensity walking reduced blood pressure in both normal and high-risk individuals. Walking is an inexpensive and low-impact way to improve your health.

The results from the study were mixed. Researchers found that a 10-minute walk reduced blood pressure by about 2 points, whereas four 10-minute sessions decreased blood pressure by three points on average. This suggests that longer studies are needed to confirm these results. But if walking is your goal, you should aim for 30 minutes of continuous exercise on most days of the week. It is important to follow the recommendations of your doctor.

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