WALK FOR YOUR HEALTH - IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
If you're looking for a simple way to exercise, why not try
walking? You don't need great athletic skill, expensive sports
equipment or a fitness club membership to walk - just open your
door, step out and start! Research studies show that regular
brisk walking can substantially reduce a person's chances of
getting heart disease and cancer. It can also help control weight,
blood pressure and blood sugar, and when combined with adequate
calcium intake, can also strengthen bones and reduce the risk
of fractures. If these benefits are not enough, walkers have
acknowledged that they experience a greater sense of well-being
and that they are able to fall asleep faster. Sounds good? So,
here's what you need to know:
So, consider my suggestion and try walking - the more you walk,
the more you burn!
- Determine your objective before starting out. Do you
want to improve your cardio-vascular activity or do you
want to get rid of the extra fat around your waist and hip?
Walking for the former, if you are a heart patient, has
to be done with the advice of your doctor. If it is pace
walking as an aerobic activity or for weight reduction that
you are looking at, you need to work towards walking five
days a week, for an hour. You need to walk longer and faster,
preferably on a hilly trail or on an incline. If you are
an indoor person, the treadmill will do.
- Pick the time of day that is most suitable to you in
the long run. Earmark a specific time and stick to that
time, making it a part of your daily routine. Try not to
vary the routine.
- Chalk out your route and keep an eye on the time that
you take. After a month or so, you might have to increase
the distance that you walk Also keep in mind your natural
inclinations - don't force yourself to become an 'early-morning-fresh-air'
person, when you're not. You won't last out the month! Stick
to the gym, at a more reasonable hour, is my advice. Also
bear in mind the weather - getting wet and falling ill is
NOT the aim of this exercise!
- Select the right shoes. This is a must for any fitness
program that you are embarking on. Heavy, stiff shoes will
not allow you to walk freely and comfortably. Make sure
that they are the right size, or else your feet might swell
up while walking.
- Drink enough water before, during and after the walk.
In fact, ensure that you drink at least eight glasses a
day. Water is good for you!
- Do not overdo anything. If you walk every day of the
week, as you progress, you might find yourself losing some
of the enthusiasm or you might feel irritable and tired.
You might also have a body ache. Rest for a day, gas up
and then hit the road again. Don't take too long a break,
though - you might quit for good!
- For safe walking, warm up and cool down periods are needed.
Begin and end the walk by breathing and stretching exercises
and/or reserve the first five and the last ten minutes for
walking at a slower pace.
- Be aware of signs of over exertion. These include laboured
breathing, excessive sweating, irregular or failing heartbeat,
blueness in the lips or fingers, chest pain, nausea, or
lack of co-ordination. If you do, stop and rest. If the
symptoms persist, seek immediate medical attention. If you
are a heart patient or a person coping with some other sickness,
it is advisable to have a walking companion.