Couch to 5k: The benefits of walking

walk-2635038_960_720About 30 days ago I sat in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my six month check up. A year earlier I had been prescribed a small dose of blood pressure medicine to manage my blood pressure.  From periodic pressure readings, I knew my blood pressure had been rising recently.  A nurse confirmed my bp was high.  I knew what was coming, they were going to prescribe a higher dose of BP medicine.  Would they need to increase my meds again next year, and what about the year after that?

I had given up on cardiovascular exercise earlier in the summer.  I didn’t want to subject my knees and hips to jogging anymore.  I didn’t plan to run anymore 5ks so why keep jogging?  I questioned whether or not walking would give me any cardio benefit.  Besides, I considered myself active.  On work days I averaged 10,000 steps on my Fitbit.

However, In the last 90 days (minus any cardio) my resting pulse had risen significantly as had my BP.  To make matters worse, I was coping with a stressful family medical situation.  I am grateful my doctor didn’t overreact.  He calmly recommended the D.A.S.H. diet, some cardio, and said losing a handful of pounds would make a big difference.

It was time to draw a line in the sand.  The next day I started walking for at least 20 minutes a day.  I focused on trying to keep my pulse in the cardio range, 110 to 130 beats per minute as defined by my Fitbit.  I also started making better choices on the food I ate to lower my salt intake.

The results have been noticeable.  In just a little over 30 days my resting pulse has fallen almost to what it was when I was jogging almost 90 days. ago  My BP has fallen below my doctor’s suggested ideal range (that’s with taking my BP meds).  I have also shed a couple of pounds in the process. My Fitbit now declares I have excellent cardio vascular health!  Cardio walking for 30 minutes or more a day 4 or more times a week does make a huge difference!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s