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Walk to Wellness

Walking Prescription Pad Delivers Personal Plans

Doctor's orders! Whether you're throwing your hat into the exercise ring for the first time, coming back from an injury or prolonged absence, or choosing to walk as your exercise du jour, the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wants to make it easy for you to keep up the pace!

CVI has created the Walking Prescription Pad, a brief, online questionnaire based on guidelines from the National Institutes of Health. Once you complete this brief questionnaire with information about your health, body-mass index (BMI) and walking readiness, the Walking Prescription Pad will generate your personal-walking prescription and a guide to walking for better cardiovascular health.

Routine walking can do wonders for your health.

"Walking has so many heart-healthy benefits," said Larissa Engleman, MSN, ANP, a nurse practitioner at the CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC. "Along with a healthy diet, walking could be a vital component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle-working to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and excess weight."

Motivation was an important factor in developing the Walking Prescription Pad. Studies have shown that people who are motivated to walk with gentle, inexpensive modes of prodding, like strolling with a friend or receiving encouragement and progress check-ins via phone for example, achieve better results and sustain momentum in their routine.

"We designed the Walking Prescription Pad with the mindset that it could work for a number of people with a number of different needs," said Engleman. "They can use the instructions to exercise with friends or form a walking group. Having concrete goals and instructions to follow is the first step to feeling empowered about getting and staying healthy."

Walking, no matter the level of intensity, has cardiovascular health benefits. A study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging found that the arteries of physically active men and women in their 60s and 70s were far healthier than their inactive counterparts. In this case, moderate walking (for hour-long increments) constituted physical activity among patients who participated in the study.

The more an artery is able to dilate, the healthier it is. Study participants who were physically active were able to dilate their coronary-arteries almost 50 percent more than those who were not physically active, limiting cardiovascular risks such as heart attack and stroke.

Receiving your customized Walking Prescription Pad is easy to do. Head over to and fill out the brief questionnaire. Follow the instructions, and begin your routine. As always, consult your physician before starting any exercise program - especially when you're not currently physically active or are experiencing any health issues.

Happy walking!

Posted August 2011

Contact Information

CardioVascular Institute at
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215