Why a Cardiologist Wants You To Commit to Daily Walks Versus Long Ones on the Weekends

Photo: Getty/Klaus Vedfelt
Okay, we know that movement every day is a key to a well-rounded healthy lifestyle and helps fend off certain chronic diseases. But what about when you’re stuck at your desk catching up on work and it just doesn’t seem doable to get out for a stroll or power walk? It happens and it can be tempting to opt for an extra-long weekly walk to make up for missing the recommended thirty minutes of daily time on the move. But does it carry the same health benefits?  Sidney Glasofer, MD, FACC, board-certified cardiologist with New Jersey-based Atlantic Medical Group says not so much. Instead, focusing on daily movement is key.

Daily movement is better for your overall health,” Dr. Glasofer says. “It is better not just for your heart health but for your mental health.” Even when you can't get 30 minutes or more, carving out any time you can to go for a walk is a mood-boosting, health elevating necessity that breaks up time spent parked at the desk.

Living a lifestyle that is too sedentary has been shown to pose a variety of potential health issues like hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression, according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. The Mayo Clinic also reported that the problem of sitting too frequently is a modern problem. Today, Americans sit for an average of 13 to 15 hours per day, compared to three to five hours two centuries ago. Yikes!

Dr. Glasofer recommends getting up and out for a moderate walk for at least 30 minutes three to five days a week. Breaking up the period of being sedentary can be as simple as scheduling in a walk during your lunch break or opting for a stroll to the office rather than your typical commute. “Find whatever time you can for yourself to escape, get outside and exercise,” he says.

There is no one-size-fits-all for carving out your daily movement. Take a look at your weekly schedule and find times that might best suit your needs. Morning person? Leave 15 minutes early for your walking commute and take the long route. Or set a reminder to take two fifteen-minute breaks at work in the morning and afternoon and head out for a moderate power walk. You’ll get some movement in and maybe even reset your creative juices. If you already have a steady exercise routine, add in a simple meditative walk and practice breathing exercises. This time is all about you and your health! Get moving.

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