Walking, the easiest exercise can be done in any open space, at a suitably convenient time and at any age. It’s a wise investment for a healthier life, and requires no special equipment except a proper pair of light, comfortable, well-cushioned shoes.
To keep fit and feel good, a 20-minute walk about four times a week can be easily incorporated in one’s normal schedule. Try to walk on a clear, even surface like an asphalt road instead of concrete pavement and take firm, even strides and swing your arms leaning slightly forwards from the ankles.
Muscles of the legs are the largest and strongest of all muscles. They support body weight, maintain the posture and help the blood circulation.
As legs move, the muscles squeeze the surrounding veins which force blood back effectively to the heart making it work better. Also, the dormant capillaries are roused that nourish the leg muscles. So a brisk walk stimulates development of blood vessels in the muscle tissue and makes legs shapely and strong.
For a well-toned, agile body regular use of legs is essential. Make walking to nearby places a habit. Walk to the market, movies, mall, and library and, if your workplace is not too far, then go on foot instead of waiting for the bus. Even if you have your own conveyance park it at some distance and walk up. Avoid the lift and take the stairs ascending and descending.
Men have more muscle than fat on their bodies than women and as muscles burn more energy than do fat, they have a much lower tendency to put on weight. Most women have fat immediately under the skin and plump arms and heavy hips are stubborn trouble spots for a few of them. Due to poor blood circulation fat deposits occur in certain areas of the body. Putting movement in routine chores makes leg muscles flex easily and the pelvic saddle to swivel effortlessly. Wrong eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle slows down body metabolism. Exercise plays a prominent part in fat loss and in intensifying metabolic activity of the body leading to effective burning of calories and maintaining a well-proportioned figure.
- A brisk walk for 15 minutes burns about 50 calories
- Moving rapidly up and down the stairs burns 60 calories
- Walking at a stretch for three miles burns 300 calories
- Lack of this easy exercise can add up to a kilogram of weight in a month. Not just cutting calories but regular physical activity aids in weight reduction.
For most elderly, walking becomes a mainstay activity to enjoy the fresh open air and take in sunshine. It plays a crucial role in strengthening and toning most cells of the body and also does make many feel rejuvenated. The eyes become brighter, skin gets clearer and spirits soar higher.
Try some bending and stretching movements before setting off for your walk. Increase distance and speed gradually but never go out late in the evening and in remote areas. While walking in the park or neighborhood be certain that people known to you are around.
Diabetics whose general circulation is poor are advised to walk as much as they can to reduce their problems. Those who suffer from arthritis find walking gives them relief from knee and ankle pain.
Alzheimer’s disease can be staved off as one stays mentally alert. The brain releases ‘endorphin’, a chemical that makes the mind strong and sharp, preventing the onset of dementia.
After the age of 50, high blood pressure (hypertension) is much more in women than in men and tends to increase further as years pass by. This psychological situation is often caused by mental stress, financial and family problems, fear, loneliness and also negative emotions. But a brisk walk boosts stamina, enhances confidence, ensures better sleep, augments a cheerful disposition and within a few weeks, makes you feel a new person.
In fact, nothing can be equated with fitness and even if the weather is wet, windy or cold, don’t cut back on this pleasant outdoor pursuit. For, by not finding time to exercise, you’ll have time for some illness.
It was over 2,000 years ago that Hippocrates, father of medicine advocated: “All parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly; but if unused they become liable to disease, get defective in growth and age quickly.”