Walking – a step in the right direction: Manipal Nurse Weekly column

When one looks at the profile of diseases which presently burden us, and the large numbers of people affected – 60 000 affected by hypertension, 25 000 affected by diabetes, out of a population of 270 000 in Udupi District  and when one realises that these diseases are exercise-deficient diseases (at least in part), then the promotion of exercise must be seen as a critical step in attempting to limit the impact of these diseases.

Since these diseases are heredity, even larger numbers of individuals are at risk of becoming disease sufferers unless they adopt regular exercise regimes. Our limited data suggests that this is our current path.

Regular walking, like other forms of regular physical activity, offers us this opportunity to practise disease prevention, and to shift from our current path. Walking is an aerobic exercise that encourages the heart to become more efficient, thus reducing the chances of a variety of cardiovascular diseases. Walking is good psychologically too. It can help give a general sense of well-being, and relieve stress. The longer you walk, the greater the benefits.15623-imraan-khan-walking-on-the-beach.jpg

The benefits of walking are the same for both genders and are helpful to the elderly as much as the young. If you have been inactive for a while, you may want to start at a comfortable pace.

This allows you to gradually become physically fit, without straining your body. Once you are fitter, you can gradually do more. The health benefits of walking include: reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes (our number one and number two killers, respectively); lower health-care costs (to people and to Government); and improved quality of life for people of all ages.

Every Manipalite or for that matter Indian, 100% or not, should take stock of his or her life. A daily routine of moderate exercise benefits those who have established, exercise-deficient‚ disease(s) by slowing the progression of these conditions. A daily routine of moderate exercise helps prevent disease in those who don’t yet have these diseases. Everyone should  encourage regular physical activity. Get out your walking shoes.

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