Walking

Walking is the simplest and the most natural form of exercise. It is extremely popular with people of all ages and fitness abilities because of its effectiveness and convenience.

Dr. Pratima Rajan of Jaslok hospital, cardiac rehabilitation and preventive department, advocates the effectiveness of walking. She says, “Walking is the nearest activity to perfect exercise because it is a low impact cardiovascular exercise that works the whole body. It protects the joints by placing minimum strain on them and improves the condition of the heart, lungs and bones.”

Did you know?

It involves nearly all your muscles — the abdominal and back muscles are stabilized as they hold the spine erect, the arms work in opposition to legs. Walking improves posture, tones the arms, shoulders, torso and legs.

Benefits

• It is terrific for burning calories and strengthening muscles.
• It is a low-impact activity with a low injury potential.
• It improves balance, posture, coordination and agility.
• It lowers the risk of heart disease.
• It increases bone density.

A WALKING FACT

Just five 30-minute walking sessions of approximately 2 miles each week can reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 25 percent.

BURNING CALORIES

Every mile you walk approximately burns 100 calories. If you walk 5 miles a day, everyday, you will burn about 3500 calories, or 1 pound in a week.

WEIGHT LOSS

In order to loose weight you need to burn calories and consume less fat. So watch what you eat! Cut back on fats and sugar. You don’t need to starve yourself, but eat a well-balanced diet that includes a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and sprouts.

STRIDE OUT WITH CONFIDENCE

The better your form, the more muscles you’ll use and the more calories you’ll burn. Walk tall, with your head centered between your shoulders and your chest lifted. Bend elbows and pump your arms swinging forward and back from your shoulders. Pull your abs in and with feet firmly on the ground, strike first with your heel and then roll your entire foot until you push off into the next stride with the ball of your foot.

TYPES OF WALKING

Add some excitement to your walking routine. Take a look at some of the walking options and experiment with them. You can also mingle walking styles, for example; you may choose to do frequent short, but brisk walks during the week and do longer leisurely walks on the weekends when you might have more time.

STROLL

This includes walking in the garden, countryside, footpath or walking trails at your own leisurely pace. It is your “time out” to relax the body and mind. This excellent anti-stress measure is a wonderful way to unwind.

BAREFOOT

When you walk barefoot in a park or the garden, you establish a connection with nature. Just like animals and plants, you share the sensation of the warmth, or the chill or the freshness of the revitalizing moisture of the soil. This sensation relaxes the mind, the eyes and your entire being.

Did you know?

The sense of touch of the soles is almost as highly developed as that of the hands?
It improves body awareness which is an important aspect of every relaxation technique.

SLOPES

Walking up slopes increases the workload and energy costs. To increase the intensity of slope climbing, choose slopes that are steep. But remember to progress gradually, and plan your route so that the inclines are challenging and at the same time, manageable.

POWER WALKING

The objective of power walking is to walk at such a fast pace that it would be actually easier to break into a run. This way you not only burn more calories, but also increase muscle strength and power.

A serious power walk can burn as many calories as a run. How? When you walk quickly, it is difficult to keep from breaking into a run; your muscles have to work extra hard to maintain a walking stride. The effort of holding back accelerates calories burned

STRETCH

Don’t forget to stretch the muscles you’ve worked at the end of your walking session.

CALF STRETCH

Taking a giant step forward with the right foot, right leg bent, left leg straight, keep both feet pointing forward and left heel touching the ground. Hold for 10 seconds and then change sides.

QUADRICEPS STRETCH

Stand tall; grasp right foot with right hand. Bring your foot toward buttocks, keeping knees together. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

HAMSTRING STRETCH

Slowly raise one leg and rest it on an elevated platform, such as a park bench or ledge. Keeping your hips square, bend at your waist and lower your trunk forward. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

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