If you’re worried about your heart, you can go to the best cardiologists…
Get a myriad of blood tests…
Undergo cutting-edge diagnostic imaging and EKGs…
But answering one simple question may be among the most reliable indicators of whether or not you’re headed for a heart attack. This marker of heart health is accurate whether you’re obese or thin, smoker or nonsmoker, in shape or sedentary.
The validity was confirmed in a major study that followed more than 420,000 middle-aged people. It tracked them for more than six years.
Your Heart has the Need for Speed
The crucial question is this: How fast do you walk?
Middle-aged people who report they are slow walkers are at much higher risk of heart disease, according to a team of researchers at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre in the UK.
Participants were asked to rate their usual walking pace as “slow,” “steady/average,” or “brisk.” They also underwent an exercise test in a laboratory to determine their fitness levels.
After 6.3 years of follow-up, 8,598 of the participants had died. Heart disease had killed 1,654 of them.
Professor Tom Yates of the University of Leicester led the study. “Slow walkers were around twice as likely to have a heart-related death compared to brisk walkers,” he said.
The findings took into account whether a person had other known risk factors such as smoking, obesity, a bad diet, or lack of exercise. No matter their health situation or lifestyle, self-reported walking speed was an accurate marker of whether a person was headed for a heart attack.
“Habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death,” Professor Yates said.
The study was published in the European Heart Journal.
The Best Way to Get Your Heart in Shape
If you’re a slow walker, it’s time to get in better shape. We recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s all about maximizing results while minimizing workout time. The average session lasts 20 minutes or less.
Two weeks of HIIT raises your aerobic capacity—VO2max—just as much as two months of steady-state cardio such as jogging. And research shows a high VO2max is the best predictor of 10-year survival rates among heart disease patients.
The basic formula for HIIT is simple. Do whatever form of cardio you like. It could be running, biking, swimming, elliptical, step trainer, or whatever you have available.
First, warm up by doing the activity slowly for three to five minutes…then sprint at an all-out pace for the next 30–60 seconds.
Then slow down for the next minute or two. Repeat this cycle five to seven times. Cool down for at least two minutes by doing the activity slowly.
The heart benefits of HIIT were confirmed in a large Norwegian study in 2012. It looked at 4,846 people with heart disease. It found that HIIT was better than traditional, lower-intensity exercise in reducing heart attacks.
By using HIIT to improve your cardiovascular system, you’ll find walking comes easier and you’ll naturally improve your pace. And that makes it more likely you’ll avoid future heart disease.
Editor’s Note: Research shows the standard heart disease treatments—stents and statin drugs—don’t prevent heart attacks. Discover what does by reading our monthly journal Independent Healing. It’s your best source for reliable, unbiased health information. For more information, go HERE.