By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Here is a great argument for getting out and walking…and going for a long walk at that! Long-distance walking results in twice as much weight loss as standard cardiac rehabilitation exercises that involve walking short distances at a brisk pace.

A University of Vermont College of Medicine researcher studied over 70 overweight patients in cardiac rehab who were randomly assigned to standard rehab exercises that burned 700 to 800 calories per week or intensive rehab exercises involving long walks that burned 3,000 to 3,500 calories a week.

The people were studied for five months and after that time the group walking 45 to 60 minutes a day most days a week had greater improvements in 10 risk factors including blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and cardio-respiratory fitness. They all also lost 18 pounds compared to 8 pounds in the control group.

The other advantage is the reduction in stress that occurs from walking. Another key bonus.

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