September is PAD (Peripheral Arterial Disease) Awareness Month. In PAD, a build up of plaque in the arteries (clogged arteries) decreases blood flow and oxygenation to the muscles. A symptom of PAD is chronic leg pain. This pain may start as cramping during walking or climbing stairs, and progress to pain and cramping at rest. Severe PAD can eventually lead to infection and amputation.
One of the best things you can do to improve the symptoms of PAD is to exercise, especially walking! The study below showed that people with PAD who started a walking program significantly increased the amount of time they could walk without pain.
Research suggests that regular cardio exercise such as walking improves circulation in the legs. A regular walking program stimulates the development of new blood vessels in the legs, builds calf muscle, and leads to your muscles using oxygen more efficiently.
Regular exercise, combined with a healthy diet, stopping smoking, and taking medications if prescribed by your physician, can prevent PAD from getting worse and improve your fitness and function for years to come.