A fit looking Ramesh Patel walked into Dr Dilip Nadkarni’s clinic. He was consulting him for a mild backache, due to excessive computer use.
In the course of taking his clinical history, Dr Nadkarni asked him whether he exercised. He said, “No doc, I don’t exercise, I only walk”. Like Ramesh, many people don’t consider walking an exercise and often underestimate the health benefits of walking. But can any kind of walking be considered exercise? Can you stroll at a leisurely pace, and still knock off those extra kilos and get fit? Let’s find out…
As an Orthopedic surgeon, Dr Nadkarni recommends walking to most of his patients who desire to lose weight. “Walking is a relatively safe and enjoyable exercise, which is effective in weight reduction. However for those affected by severe knee arthritis or back problems, I recommend swimming or cycling,” advises Dr Nadkarni.
Walking has several health benefits apart from weight reduction. It is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, which makes our heart and lungs more efficient. It can prevent Osteoporosis and improve bone health. Walking is an excellent way to beat stress. The only drawback is that it can have adverse effects on knees and back, once degeneration has set in.
To make walking an effective exercise for weight loss, one should stick to the 5 S formula Dr Nadkarni points out…
“Stretch your muscles before and after walking. Muscles like the calf muscle, the quadriceps or the front thigh muscles and the hamstrings situated in the back portion of the thigh, need to be supple while walking. A good stretching session with “Vertical Yoga” can help these muscles give their best performance while walking. Vertical yoga is a set of standing Yoga postures, which can be performed before and after a walk.”
“Strengthen your calf muscles by performing weight-training exercises, which will make your walk safe and prevent injuries. Exercises like heel raises, quarter squats, lunges can strengthen the muscles involved in your walk. Strong muscles also prevent degeneration of joints.”
“Optimum speed while walking is required for you to reduce weight. The walk needs to be brisk to raise your heart rate to ‘training’ level. Very often people do not lose weight with walking because they stroll rather than walk with correct intensity. If you can sing a song effortlessly while walking, you need to speed up. If you are gasping for breath while walking, you need to slow down. A pulse monitor often helps you find your ideal speed of walking.”
“The style of walking is important for your walk to be efficient and injury free. Correct striding involves touching your heel to the ground first, followed by your mid-foot before toe leaves the ground. Your body needs to be erect without slouching. Arms should be swinging comfortably in tandem with your strides. A good walker makes very little sound while walking. Too much sound while striding means too much impact on your joints.”
“Your shoes can be your biggest allies while walking. Good shoes can usher in health, weight loss and happiness and bad shoes can invite knee or back problems. If you are a regular walker, please invest in good pair of shoes. Buy shoes, which are designed for walking. Do not buy “tennis” shoes for walking. Sports footwear companies have invested millions of rupees in making shoes specific for specific activities. So go and buy the best walking shoes, which you can afford. Your feet are worth it!”
“For me walking is beyond health and weight reduction. Walking for me is a holistic experience. Whether it is a trek in the hills or along the seashore, my walk transcends tensions and worries and sends me into another world”, concludes Dr Nadkarni.
Source: TOI Lifestyle News