Heart attacks are still the leading cause of premature deaths in North America. Among women, it is an even higher risk with 8.6 million American women currently living with heart disease, and are 4 to 6 times more likely to die of heart disease than of breast cancer.

Heart disease kills more women over 65 than all cancers combined. For both men and women, the biggest factors that contribute to heart disease are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history and age.

Walking helps improve the efficiency of the heart muscle and aids blood to flow faster and freer around the body. A strong, healthy heart means no heart attacks. Walking briskly will reduce coronary heart disease risk in women by 30 percent to 40 percent. Becoming more active can also lower your blood pressure by as much as four to nine points.

Women 40-65 who walk at least 3 hours a week have a 40% lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Walking briskly lowers your risk to 54%. Even those who walk at a slower pace have a 32% lower risk of heart disease compared with those who don’t walk at all. Any number of steps at any pace is much better than no steps at all!