Cardio walking can be as good for your heart as running if you keep it up.

Cardio-Walking: Walk for Heart Health

Walking is one of the best ways to protect your heart and boost your heart health. Here are 5 tips for maximizing your cardiac fitness benefits of walking.

1. Set a Schedule and Stick to It.
When you make time to walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week, walking will have a bigger impact in your life and you’ll recognize significant benefits.

2. Walk at Your Fastest Comfortable Pace.

Strolling is pleasant, but when you’re walking for cardiac fitness you want to push yourself a bit harder. At the same time, you want to pace yourself. The best test: Walk with a friend and talk while you walk. If you can’t speak comfortably without losing your breath, you’re pushing too hard. When you’re walking by yourself, pay attention to your breath and if you’re huffing and puffing, slow it down.

3. Walk for Your Optimal Heart Rate.

You can use a target heart rate calculator to determine the target heart rate that’s best for you.

4. Evaluate your Physical Intensity.

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is a way of measuring the intensity level of physical activity based on your perceptions – how hard you feel like your body is working. Use this tool  to measure physical sensations such as increased heart rate, breathing rate, sweating, and muscle fatigue and determine your exertion rate when you walk.

5. Do Your Best – It’s Good Enough.

Everyone starts any physical activity at their own level and what’s comfortable for you is the best measure of how you’re doing. Start wherever you are, and pat yourself on the back for making an important

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.