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Dr Mosley says starting the day with a walk can cut heart disease risk

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Heart disease is an umbrella term for various conditions that target the fist-sized organ that pumps blood throughout your body. While poor lifestyle choices can create perfect conditions for these health problems, easy lifestyle tweaks could erect a barrier against cardiovascular disease. According to Dr Michael Mosley, it could be as easy as taking a walk first thing in the morning.

With dark mornings and low temperatures, the last thing you might want to do is squeeze in a walk before starting your day.

However, Dr Mosley shared that this easy hack could do plenty for your heart – and it costs nothing.

The doctor penned for Daily Mail: “Taking an early morning walk is surprisingly life-changing.

“Getting out and about within an hour or two of getting up can improve your sleep, boost your mood, increase your fitness and cut your risk of heart disease and diabetes.”

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The reason why taking a walk in the morning is key comes down to exposure to natural light.

The levels of light outdoors are at least ten times brighter than indoors, according to Dr Mosley.

Once this bright light hits the back of your eyes, a message gets sent to your pituitary gland – pea-sized gland located at the base of your brain – prompting it to stop producing melatonin.

In case you’re not aware, melatonin is known as the darkness hormone because its higher evening levels help you to doze off at night.

Dr Mosley said: “As well as waking you up, bright outdoor light helps reset your internal body clock, which in turn helps to regulate hunger, mood, body temperature and all sorts of other important bodily processes.

“This resetting of the internal clock also means that when you head for bed, you are ready to sleep.”

Adding a walk to this process can see your risk of heart disease fall, with Current Opinion in Cardiology highlighting the effect of this easy exercise on your heart.

The research found that the accessible activity plays a part in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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The study said patients should gradually raise their walking levels, with the minimum goal being 150 minutes per week.

However, 10,000 steps per day seems to be the most “effective” goal across a wide range of populations.

What’s more, Dr Mosley shared walking could also add a few years on to your lifespan.

He said: “A brisk walk at about 100 paces a minute not only increases your fitness, compared to a more leisurely dawdle, it might even extend your life.

“It increases your heart rate, placing a greater demand on your cardiovascular system, thereby maintaining cardio fitness and helping to lower blood pressure.

“Which is why brisk walkers have a 21 per cent lower risk of death from heart disease than the more sedentary.”

High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, making the condition a precursor of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Keeping this culprit in check is another way to lower your risk of heart disease, with diet and exercise being considered especially potent weapons.

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