This Morning: Expert on eggs reducing risk of heart disease
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Although heart disease is considered to be the leading cause of death worldwide, research suggests your risk of the culprit is modifiable. What’s more, a new study shares you could cut your risk of heart disease by something you probably do on a daily basis – walking.
Heart disease is an umbrella term for conditions that target your heart or blood vessels. Responsible for more than 160,000 deaths each year in the UK alone, the condition can be dangerous. The good news is that it’s largely preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Grab your walking shoes and keep a track of your steps. This is the suggestion of a new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology.
The study found that getting up to 10,000 steps daily could help slash your risk of heart disease.
While the health benefits increased with every step, the perks peaked at 10,000 steps.
What’s more, the study also managed to identify the ideal amount of steps per minute that could be beneficial for the blood-pumping organ.
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However, the number of steps isn’t the only imporant factor as your pace also plays a role.
The study, looking at 78,500 adults with wearable trackers, found that a brisk walk and faster pace offered benefits “above and beyond”.
The co-lead author Doctor Matthew Ahmadi said: “The take-home message here is that for protective health benefits people could not only ideally aim for 10,000 steps a day but also aim to walk faster.”
Furthermore, the researchers noticed that steps taken when going about daily activities were enough to stave of heart disease.
How many steps do I need to take per minute?
The wrist step counters worn for 24 hours a day over a week helped the researchers to determine the sweet spot.
Having counted each participants’ step total, the team created three categories – fewer than 40 steps per minute and more than that.
The third category included those who took the most steps per minute within a 30-minute window.
The subjects who did the most walking – around 80 steps per minute to be exact – showed the biggest reduction for heart disease.
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Senior author Emmanuel Stamatakis said: “Step count is easily understood and widely used by the public to track activity levels thanks to the growing popularity of fitness trackers and apps, but rarely do people think about the pace of their steps.
“Findings from these studies could inform the first formal step-based physical activity guidelines and help develop effective public health programs aimed at preventing chronic disease.”
While this study shows a promising link between a lower risk of heart disease and fast-paced walking, more research is currently needed.
Co-lead author Doctor Matthew Ahmadi added: “Going forward more research with longer-term use of trackers will shed more light on the health benefits associated with certain levels and intensity of daily stepping.”
Although walking could be the first step in reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems, there are various other lifestyle tweaks that are also effective.
A healthy diet packed with fresh colourful fruit and veg could also benefit your cardiovascular system.
The NHS adds you should also cut back on salt and saturated fat as these two ingredients can boost your high blood pressure and cholesterol – both considered precursors of heart disease.
Other interventions that could also help include quitting smoking and cutting back on alcohol.
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