HEALTH AND FITNESS FOR YOU- ADEWOYIN OLAWUNMI.M
What is good health? You may define it in several ways but basically, it is a personal commitment to live in a manner that promotes one’s physical and psychological well-being.
It is neither too late nor soon to set out on your quest towards staying healthy and fit for life. Here are some basic steps to improve your health:
Have your doctor check your blood pressure regularly
Keep diabetes under control
Eat a low-fat diet
Pay attention to your body
Learn as much as you can about health by reading magazines and newspaper articles, watching television programs that focus on health issues, listening to radio talk-shows featuring health experts, attending health programs sponsored by your church, school or community group.
WALK YOUR WAY TO FITNESS
Walking is the most popular exercise with good reasons; it’s easy, convenient and natural. Physicians and fitness experts have it that walking has an edge over aerobic exercises like running because it is a safe low-impact activity that doesn’t exert much pressure on the body. Walking 20-30 minutes a day or 3 times every week can yield enormous benefits on your body especially when combined with healthy eating.
Walking lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stimulates circulation and reduces the risk of heart attack/disease and stroke. It also boosts the human immune system, metabolism and endurance. Walking strengthens bones, tones muscles, fosters weight loss and helps a person sleep better.
In addition to its physiological benefits, walking has important psychological effects; it decreases stress and tension, relieves depression and improves a person’s mood and self-image.
Before you start walking, ensure you wear comfortable clothing and shoes to make your walk as pleasant as possible and to avoid serious injuries. Walking in high heels causes stress to the balls of the feet, ankles, knees, back, shoulders and neck. Along with comfortable shoes, heavy socks are a must to prevent blisters. Start slowly, doing only what feels comfortable and build from there; you can even carry a couple of dumbbells and do arm exercises while walking and work up up to a comfortable pace. According to experts, you can use the ‘talk test’ to determine if you are exercising at the proper pace. You should be able to carry out a conversation without gasping for breath;wrap up your work-out by slowing down to a casual stroll and ending with a stretch. Studies have shown that incorporating moderate-to-high intensity spurts into your work-out not only helps you burn fat four times faster but also brings new life to an old routine.
When walking outdoors, consider the effects of the environment on your body. For instance, the sun can affect your endurance; try walking during cooler periods, drink water at regular intervals and if you feel tired, rest. You can as well walk on the treadmill, gym or in your home.
On a final note, studies have shown that people with work-out partners or someone who encourages their efforts have greater chances of meeting their fitness goals. No matter your age, regular walking improves your health. Experts say that walking is a good foundation for any fitness program and an excellent alternative when you can’t make it to the gym. Even if you’ve never exercised before or started and stopped. Walking could be your best prescription for fitness.