Walking is the best exercise that requires no investment or extra time
New Delhi, December 15, 2018 :
Statistics indicate that about 34% of Indians — 24.7% male and 43.9% females — are not active enough to stay healthy. Globally, more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases from not doing enough physical activity. The data also shows that if the current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met.
Insufficient activity puts people at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers, according to the first study to estimate global physical activity trends over time.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Lack of exercise affects the human body right up to the cellular level. Modern and advanced technology has certainly made life easy and convenient for us – online shopping, online payments, accessing information, etc., all of which can be done from the comfort of our homes. But, has technology really made our life better? What it has also done is change our lifestyle pattern at the cost of health; we are less physically active now – sitting at a desk for a long time working on the computer, using social media on smartphones, watching TV or sitting in a meeting, all these activities promote sedentary behavior.”
‘Exercise’ is not synonymous with ‘physical activity’. The former is planned, structured and repetitive while any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, also has a health benefit (WHO Fact Sheet, February 2017).
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Walking is the best form of exercise, which requires no investment, no special training. Walking in natural environments such as parks also reduces mental stress and fatigue and improve mood via the release of the ‘feel good’ endorphins. This proximity to nature also helps in the inward spiritual journey and shifts one from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode manifested by lowering of blood pressure and pulse rate.”
Some tips from HCFI
- To start the day, park your car further away from your place of work and walk 10 minutes to your worksite. At lunchtime, walk 5 minutes away from work and 5 minutes back before eating your lunch. At the end of the day, take that same 10-minute route to walk back to your car. You will now have completed your recommended daily exercise.
- If you simply cannot exercise during the week, do it on the weekends. Perhaps start with 30-minute walks and each successive weekend add five minutes to each walk until you reach 75 minutes.
- You get the same benefit in half the time by performing vigorous as opposed to moderate intensity exercise. As an example, if you jog for 25 minutes three days each week, you reap the same benefits as walking for 30 minutes five days each week.
- Find someone to exercise with or join a group exercise program. This makes exercising more social and fun and increases the likelihood that you will continue. Joining a group of like-minded exercisers (such as a walking group or tennis circle) or a gym can provide necessary encouragement and support.