• Cardiovascular

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Walking is a step toward heart health

Walking is an inexpensive form of exercise that many people of various abilities and ages can do. What about those 10,000 steps a day that many fitness apps recommend? 

Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, says there is no magic number of steps per day that people should strive for because everyone is different. What matters most, he says, is that people are moving.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

"Walking is perhaps the easiest, most affordable and one of the most effective types of physical activity humans can do," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

How many daily steps should you take? It depends.

"For a 25-to-30-year-old person, walking 6,000 steps a day is probably too little, whereas for an 85-year-old person, walking 5,000 steps is actually very good," he says.

And make walking part of your daily routine. Use the stairs, walk your dog or park away from the store entrance.

"People should be walking every day, even for a few minutes at a time, and even if it is just 15 or 20 minutes," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

Take a break from your desk and take a walk. It's good for your head and heart.

"Walking has many beneficial effects on our health — not just cardiovascular but even mental health," he says.

two people walking outside
Walking is good for our heart and mental health

Tips to add more steps to your day

  • Take the dog for a walk or find a walking buddy.
  • Head to the mall.
  • Include the family. 
  • Walk while waiting. 
  • Schedule workday walks. 
  • Park farther away. 
  • Take the stairs. 
  • Set personal goals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. There are different goals for people of different ages and abilities. 

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