Strolling After Dinner Wards Off Peripheral Arterial Vascular Disease Risk

Healthy lifestyles with excellent food choices and regular physical activity have been encouraged as the secret to a long and healthy life for years.  The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has promoted and encouraged every adult to get up to 90 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy.  This type of time commitment is difficult for many active working adults to achieve.

In an article published recently in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, Stanford researchers point out that you just might be able to protect yourself against peripheral arterial vascular disease with a much more modest evening stroll. They noted that “a lifetime of even light exercise not only protects the heart but also the legs, reducing the risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).”

According to John P. Cooke, M.D., PhD of Stanford University Medical Center, a sedentary lifestyle predicted a 46% higher risk of peripheral arterial disease compared with a lifetime of recreational activity of any intensity. The biggest gains in PAD protection came in people who went from virtually no physical activity to minimal activity. “Even light activity, such as strolling, is enough to protect against PAD.” According to Dr. Cooke “ Get up off the couch, go for a walk, and you will be less likely to have problems in the future.”

Cooke and his group at Stanford looked at 1,381 patients and noted that inactive patients were nearly twice as likely to have PAD as those who had active lives. While inactivity is a risk factor in developing PAD other controllable risk factors exist and should be modified. These would include tobacco use, elevated blood sugars and elevated triglyceride levels. Once individuals develop narrowing of the peripheral arteries producing pain on exertion called claudication, their activity becomes limited by the pain.

The message is clear.  Stop smoking and start walking – even if the walk is a slow relaxing stroll.

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