“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”- Thomas Edison
When Hippocrates said that “walking is a man’s best medicine” he didn’t realize that years later many more benefits of walking way beyond his imagination would be discovered as we walk our way to great health. We often hear laughter being described as “the best medicine” but the health benefits of walking dwarf those of laughter.
MAKING A CASE FOR WALKING
- Easy to do
- Walking is generally easy to do. No special skills needed. Get a good pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothing and you are on your way to great health. You may join the Moms Health Club “Fit to walk challenge.”
- Safe to do
- Walking does not involve a great deal of physical exertion. Many of us can walk even without clearance from our doctor. It is not as stressful to the body as many other exercises.
- Walking; it makes business sense
- You do not need to buy expensive equipment, instructional videos et cetera in order to learn how to walk. Yes it may have limitations in terms of working your muscles and also having adequate space but there are many ways to get round these minor challenges.
- Walking does not lack variety
- Walking is not boring. We certainly can spice things up by walking on flat surfaces, walking up slopes, interchanging walking at a brisk pace with a relaxed pace and even walking while carrying small weights.
- Keeps the doctor away
- If we could pledge to walk briskly for at least thirty (30) minutes a day, five (5) days a week, then our long list of benefits will include:
- Weight control
- Blood pressure, blood sugar and bad cholesterol control
- Reduces heart attack risk
- Enhances stamina and energy
- Lessens anxiety and tension
- Eases back pain
- Slows down bone loss
- Manages the negative effects of arthritis
- Improves muscle tone
- Easy on your joints
- Reduces appetite
DOING IT RIGHT
Helpful tips that will make your walk more rewarding
- Posture is key
- In order to get the most out of walking, good posture is crucial. Keep your head up and your spine straight and look straight ahead. Keep your arms and shoulders loose. Do look down occasionally to avoid possible road obstacles.
- Take deep regular breaths
- DO NOT hold your breath
- Walk, don’t run
- To get the most out of your walk you should keep a brisk pace but not fast. If it is difficult to breathe easily, slow down.
- This does not mean running is bad practice. With the right walking gear and terrain it has great benefits but definitely linked to a higher incidence of injury especially for beginners.
- Try to take long smooth strides. Your motion should be fairly effortless with your arms swinging at your side for balance.
- Walking with Intervals
- To maximize benefits of walk one can vary the pace e.g. brisk walk for 4 minutes and increase your pace for a minute then repeat the cycle.
Dear friends, even if you cannot afford a gym membership or you find exercising in a gym unduly stressful, start walking TODAY! You may need to challenge yourself later but that is a discussion for the future. Make walking a high priority activity.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials/St Andrews Clinic
*Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel is a Medical Doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in Exercise Therapy, Fitness Nutrition & Corrective Exercise.
Thought for the week – “BEAT PLASTIC POLLUTION. IF YOU CAN’T REUSE IT, REFUSE IT!!”
- Sportline – Walking Guide