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Combine Water and Walking for Heart Health

By Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen, MDs

The film "Gerry," starring Casey Affleck and Matt Damon, tells the story of two men who wander in the desert without food or water. The movie bewildered film critic Roger Ebert, who said the more he watched it, the less he liked it and the more he admired it. What we admire is people who know how good it is to walk, but who are smart enough to stay well-hydrated. Those qualities are the keys to a longer, healthier life according to two young new studies.

The first followed almost 16,000 people ages 44 to 66 for 15 years, and found that staying well-hydrated every day prevents chronic elevation of blood sodium levels in midlife — which can damage your heart structure and function, and are associated with heart failure 25 years later. To stay hydrated, women need at least 54 to 71 ounces of water a day and men at least 68 to 101 ounces.

The second study looked at 33,000 heart patients, average age 62 at the start, for around seven years. It found that those who got active (for at least 150 minutes a week) lowered their risk of death from all causes by 45% and of death from cardiovascular disease by 27% compared to folks who were never active.

So make sure you're drinking plenty of water, and whatever your age start a walking routine, building up to 10,000 steps daily. Then you won't miss a beat as you head into older age.