Walking to a Healthier Life
In this present time when obesity has become prevalent, engaging in physical activities must be encouraged. Physical inactivity has been said to be a major contributing factor to early aging other than death or acquiring chronic degenerative diseases. There are many kinds of exercises a person can engage himself in. Enrolling in gym to do aerobics, body building exercises or pilates (the recent trend among celebrities) are just a few of those regimens one can choose from. Of course, a person can always opt to choose the most suitable exercise he deems appropriate for his lifestyle, budget and time, among others. A simple brisk walking of 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient physical activity.
For those who lead a busy lifestyle, walking remains to be the easiest exercise. Walking can be done almost anywhere and anytime which only needs a pair of comfortable shoes. In an article published by the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) in Obesity Alert, September 2004, the article “Walking…A Step in the Right Direction”, stressed the benefits one can derive from walking. These include:
- giving a person more energy;
- making one feel good;
- helping one relax;
- helping reduce stress;
- helping one to sleep better;
- helping in toning muscle;
- helping in controlling appetite; and
- increasing the number of calories the body uses.
Before starting a walking program, however, it is very important that the following questions be answered first, just like in any other exercise program. Among these are:
- Has your doctor ever told you that you have heart trouble?
- When you exercise, do you have pains in the chest or on your left side (neck, shoulder or arm?)
- Do you feel faint or have dizzy spells?
- Do you feel extremely breathless after a mild activity?
- Has your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure?
- Has your doctor told you that you have bone or joint problems like arthritis, that could get worse if you exercise?
- Are you over 50 years old and not used to a lot of exercise?
- Do you have a condition or physical reason not mentioned here that might interfere with an exercise program?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consult your doctor before starting a walking program or other form of exercise.
Walking properly is the first step to a successful walking program. It is recommended that you:
- walk with your chin up and shoulders held slightly back;
- walk so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first;
- roll your weight forward;
- walk with your toes pointed forward;
- swing your arms as you walk.
Walking remains to be the easiest exercise and the least expensive. No special paraphernalia or outfit is needed. Only comfortable shoes and sheer determination are required to achieve desired results, whether it’s weight reduction or just to distress our lives from this fast paced world we live in. Remember to take plenty of water (eight glasses a day) to restore lost fluids. Let’s walk our way to health. LAKAD NA!
For more information on food and nutrition, you may write or call: The Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City, Telephone/Fax Nos. 8372934, 8373164; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph.
FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service
MA.SUSANA O. ENCARNACION