By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Lots of people complain that they cannot get fit and active and find excuses that prevent them from doing so. The most common excuse is “I have no time” and in second place is “I am too tired.” Hmmm… Do they really have no time? Do they know that being physically active increases your energy and boosts your mood? To be honest, there are no excuses. If you want to take care of yourself and especially your health, then you have to make the time and you have to take charge.
Walking, the easiest and most simple form of physical activity is your best option to get started. You don’t need equipment, you don’t need to be a member at a gym and you don’t have to take part in a paid, scheduled class — all you need is a good pair of stable shoes, and you might not even need those if you are walking on clean and comfortable ground such as the beach or your backyard. How is an activity as simple as walking beneficial to your health? Firstly, if done correctly, it can help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your heart, improve your immunity, align your posture, strengthen your joints and reduce back pain. Secondly, it actually increases your overall energy, boosts your mood, helps digestion, improves your bowel movements and helps you think with more clarity. Finally, it can help reduce the risk of various health issues we are prone to with age, including Alzheimer’s and high eye pressure. Not only can walking provide you with all these benefits, but it also improves your children’s health. How? Studies have shown that you can cut the effect of hereditary obesity in half by just walking on a regular basis.
When it comes to duration, don’t worry about how long you walk for, just start and see how long you can go for. Most of the studies out there advise that people should be physically active for 150 minutes per week meaning you can split to 30 minutes five times a week, 25 minutes per day or whatever works best for you. If you can’t manage the suggested then walk for as long as you can; something is better than nothing. Once you have started, gradually build your stamina and slowly, but lightly push yourself to continue for a few more minutes each time. Eventually, you will be able to build-up your stamina and reap all the benefits.
Don’t have the time? Walking does not have to be scheduled; you can add walking throughout your daily routine by incorporating the following examples:
1- Take your family, friends, partner or children for a walk and make it a social event.
2- Walk more at work by taking the stairs or visiting the colleague you were going to call or e-mail.
3- Set daily walks at work with colleagues to take a mental break.
4- Park your car further away from the entrance.
5- Walk around as you are waiting for an appointment in the waiting room.
6- Go for a quick walk if you are craving something sweet as it reduces cravings.
7- Walk around your home during a long phone call.
8- Purposely walk in each isle at the grocery shop.
There are many ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine, so why not start now with only a few minutes a day?
1- Make sure the location is safe for pedestrians.
2- Keep your spine straight, head up, look forward, relax your shoulders and slightly swing your arms.
3- Flex your core muscles and walk heel-to toe.
4- Use stable and correct shoes.
5- Keep hydrated.
6- Breath in with your nose and out with your mouth.
7- Gradually increase the duration and speed.
8- Do not forget to stretch after you finish.
7- Get it done as early as possible.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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