- 4 Days a week, 4KM for 40 Minutes
- Ahead of World Heart Day, doctors at RAK Hospital give easy guidelines on walking to boost heart health
- Walking can reduce the chances of cardiac events by 30 percent; heart attack survivors can lower the risk of death by up to 71 percent
September 19th, 2019; Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Regular walking can offset the chances of cardiac events by as much 30 percent and is an important tool for heart attack survivors significantly reducing the risk of death in immediate years. In order to instill this easy, yet effective habit ahead of World Heart Day, doctors at RAK Hospital have devised a workable guideline for UAE residents which they can easily incorporate in their busy routine.
“It's titled ‘The Rule of 4', and the idea is to create a walking plan that can be easily adopted for maximum benefits,” explains Dr Arun Goyal, Senior Consultant and Head of Department at RAK Hospital, “Just 40 minutes of walking 4kms, 4 days a week, is sufficient to pump health and energy into your heart and keep it going. Walking is certainly the best counter attack for the sedentary lifestyle that is prevalent in the UAE. Unfortunately most people are either not aware of the benefits of walking or don't give it the attention it deserves. This is one form of exercise that does not require any special machines or any other baggage attached. You can even walk around the block at any time that is convenient for you.”
Cardiac events are among the biggest causes of fatalities in the UAE where nearly one-third of the residents suffer from heart disease, while 32 percent are victims of high blood pressure.
Commenting on heart attack survivors, Dr Goyal advised that they should consult their cardiologist before taking up the exercise and draw up a specific walking plan. However, generally speaking, taking up walking in the weeks following heart attack can be beneficial in reducing the risk of recurrent cardiac episodes as well as death. As per a Swedish study, survivors who took up exercise soon after heart attack were able to lower the risk of death in immediate years by up to 71 percent.
“Obviously beginners aren't expected to walk all of 40 minutes initially, but they can gradually build the stamina to be able to do it,” advised Dr Goyal, adding, “Alternately, they can break the exercise into smaller slots of 20 minutes each. What's important is that the walk should be brisk and people should do it regularly. The biggest pitfall are the days when one feels too tired to exercise; however, this is when people need to put in the effort and ensure that they don't break the tempo. Once you start walking, the energy will flow into your body.”
Giving tips on safe walking, Dr Goyal advised that one should wear comfortable shoes and drink water when needed to avoid dehydration during exercise. It is also important to assess one's threshold for exercise and take a break of a few minutes when walking begins to put too much exertion on the heart.