When one talks about exercise to maintain health, our mind wonders to a gym where people are sweating it out, burning calories and building muscles. And our motivation to start an exercise program stops right there. But exercise to maintain health does not require expensive memberships and trainers. On the contrary it requires a pair of good shoes and 30 minutes.
Benefits of Walking:
- Improves overall health
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Prevents and controls Diabetes
- Increases good cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol
- Reduces weight
- Prevents Heart Disease
- Strengthens the heart blood supply by building collaterals.
- Improves mental health and fights depression
First Steps: All that you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Find a place close to your home, like a park, or a stretch of road, which is even and free from traffic. Start with 15 – 20 min a day and gradually increase to 30 minutes a day.
Pace yourself: After starting, make it a point to slowly increase the speed at which you walk. You must be walking fast enough so that normal conversation becomes uncomfortable. If you are able to talk comfortably, say over a phone or with your partner, then it’s not fast enough. During each exercise, start slowly, maintain a quick pace and walk slowly for the last five minutes to give your heart a rest. The cardiovascular benefits of exercise occur when you walk at a brisk pace. Running has little incremental benefits.
Improve on your technique: Walk with long comfortable strides. Let your heel impact the ground first and in a fluid motion, the ball of the foot must make contact last. Swing your arms back and forth in a rhythm with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Breath naturally. Don’t force an abnormal pattern while walking.
Find Hidden Opportunities: The next time you need to buy something for the local supermarket, avoid the car. Make it a point to climb up three flights or six flights down and use the lift only occasionally. Park your car a little distance away and walk to your destination when possible.
Walking is the effective, easiest and economical forms of exercise that improves both physical and mental well being. Make it a part of your day.