Monday, December 17, 2007

Benefits of mild walking ..

There is no aerobic exercise like walking. Walking is beneficial to the human body.

Brisk walking is going to accelerate the blood flow and increase the heart beat and get the heart work better. Doctors say at least 30 minutes of increased heart beat lets the blood flow in the arteries with greater force, clearing up the arteries and in turn clearing the blood flow in the circulation system in the body.

Slow walking recommended for recovering patients and old people, besides keeping the blood flowing in the body, relaxes the muscles and ligaments at the joints helping in the responses of the body to improve. The flexibility also improves.

Ever since I started walking in the evenings or mornings, at least two to three kilometres at a stretch, I found that it gave me a terrific feel good feeling. Morning walks besides giving you that fresh feeling, also keeps one active throughout the whole day. It is like a hidden reserve of energy has been tapped and till the end of the day, we find the body is energetic and active. If the walking is in the evening, besides the feel good factor, it also gives a feeling of confidence in one self. I get time to go through the events of the day and introspect on them for the duration of the walk. It also acts as a big stress buster. The breath of fresh air and the breeze flowing over the body makes you feel relaxed and refreshed.

Always keep the pace of walking at the level you are comfortable. Do not strain oneself. It can be more damaging in the long run.

Enjoy the morning or evening walk. It can add years to your life and make life worth living. According to me it is not the pace at which you walk, it is the distance you walk which ensures you a healthy living and longevity of life.

If you haven't yet started enjoying this golden exercise, better late than never, start it straightaway.


An article from Times of India, 18 Dec 08.

Walking packs huge health punch..

NEW YORK: A brisk 30-minute walk 6 days a week is enough to trim waistlines and cut the risk of metabolic syndrome - an increasingly common condition that is linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, a new study indicates.

"Our study shows that you'll benefit even if you don't make any dietary changes," study leader Johanna L Johnson, a clinical researcher at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, said in a statement.

It's estimated that about one quarter of all US adults have metabolic syndrome - a cluster of risk factors that raise the odds of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, a person must have at least three of these five risk factors - a large waistline, high blood pressure, high levels of harmful triglycerides, low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar - and according to many studies, a growing number of people have these problems.

The new findings stem from the STRRIDE study - an acronym for Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention through Defined Exercise - in which investigators examined the effects of varying amounts and intensity of exercise on 171 middle-aged, overweight men and women.

Before exercising regularly, 41 per cent of the study subjects met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. At the end of the 8-month exercise programme, only 27 per cent did. "That's a significant decline in prevalence," said Johnson. "It's also encouraging news for sedentary, middle-aged adults who want to improve their health. It means they don't have to go out running four to five days a week; they can get significant health benefits by simply walking around the neighbourhood after dinner every night."

The results of the STRRIDE study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, appear in the American Journal of Cardiology this month. People in the study who exercised the least - walking 30 minutes, 6 days a week or the equivalent of about 11 miles per week - gained significant benefit, while those who exercised the most, jogging about 17 miles per week, gained slightly more benefit in terms of lowered metabolic syndrome scores. People who did a short period of very vigorous exercise didn't improve their metabolic syndrome scores as much as those who performed less intense exercise for a longer period, the researchers found.

This suggests, they say, that there's more value in doing moderate intensity exercise every day rather than more intense activity just a few days a week.

All of the exercisers lost inches around their waistline over the 8-month study period, whereas the inactive control group gained an average of about one pound and a half-inch around the waist. "That may not sound like much, but that's just 6 months. Over a decade, that's an additional 20 pounds and 10 inches at the belt line," noted Duke Cardiologist Dr. William E. Kraus, the study's principal investigator.

"The results of our study," he added, "underscore what we have known for a long time. Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous."

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