How to walk away from a heart attack
Watch out, folks. January is when gyms work overtime to grab your cash -- and their biggest weapon is guilt.
They use the guilt you feel in mid-January, when you realize you haven't followed through on yet another resolution to get more exercise. Next thing you know, you're locked into $50 a month contract from here to eternity -- all for a gym membership you'll use maybe twice.
But don't even think about signing that contract, because you already have all the gym equipment you need attached to your body: your own two feet.
Put 'em to use with a brisk daily walk, and you'll get all the benefits of exercise without the cost, without the risk of injury, without the sweat and without straining your heart to the brink of an attack.
Add a 20-minute walk to your daily routine -- and by 20 minutes, I mean 20 minutes more than you walk already -- and your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems will drop by nearly 10 percent, according to one new study.
But why stop with 20 minutes? Double that -- walk for 40 minutes -- and your risk of heart attack and stroke will plunge by a fifth.
That's equal to the supposed benefits of statin drugs, except the drug benefits are largely fictional.
The benefits of walking, on the other hand, are very real -- and a lower risk of heart attack is just the beginning.
Walking for just two and a half hours a week will cut your risk of death from stroke, diabetes and heart disease by 11 percent -- and walking even longer than that will cut the risk by a third.
And if you manage to pull off a nice, long walk each day, you could slash your risk of stroke by as much as two-thirds, according to another recent study.
So forget the gym. Forget Zumba class. Forget sweatin' to the oldies and forget anything that might cost money or get you hurt.
Forget it all... and go for a walk instead.