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 Fitness & Weight Management

October 2011
For Real Weight Loss, Go Take A Walk!
Subodh Samuel
 
It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways of losing weight. Start walking. Your body will thank you for it…

There’s one habit that YogeshSood, a retired colonel, has cultivated ever since his younger days—walking. Today at 65 he attributes his toned body and youthful looks to his daily morning and evening walks.

“Your body is the best gym and walking or slow jogging is the cheapest way to stay fit,” says Sood who participates in most of the senior citizens’ marathons and has been completing the 7-kilometre Delhi Half Marathon every year.

Walk to Lose Weight
Walking half an hour a day aids weight loss and helps keep it off. It promotes production of endorphins in the body that induce a feeling of euphoria. It also reduces the craving for food thus making you lose weight sensibly.

Many studies have highlighted the proven benefits of walking. Doctors say that it is the single best thing you can do for weight management. It not just makes you look youthful and gives you an extra boost of energy but it also staves off a host of diseases.

A regular walking regimen helps prevent a host of physical ailments including obesity and blood pressure. It strengthens bones and muscles, lowers stress levels and brings about a feeling of well-being. Overall, it builds and maintains a healthy body.

Most cardiologists are great votaries of the walking habit. They say it is not just good for the heart and beneficial for diabetic patients, it also builds strong muscles and bones. Ideally, one should walk briskly for 30 to 40 minutes daily.

Fewer Heart Attacks and Strokes
Walking makes you lose weight, which translates into a stronger heart. According to renowned American cardiac surgeon Mehmet C. Oz, “Regular walkers are fit people. They have fewer heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure and higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol than couch sitters.”

According to Dr. Oz, compulsive foodies experience lesser cravings if they get up and take a walk everytime they think of food. In this way they not just avoid eating extra calories but end up losing more by walking---a double whammy of sorts. But, he says, when starting a walking regimen one should keep the following points in mind…
  • Beginner’s guide:It is best to start with slow walks for the first few months. If you have not walked on a regular basis it is advisable not to overexert yourself in the beginning, as this will make walking look like a chore and put you off. Pick up speed very gradually so as to make your body adapt to the idea of enhanced physical exertion.
  • Vary your intensity: Theway to get the best results is to accelerate your walking for two to three minutes and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace. Keep alternating between speeding and slowing down and the results will start showing in a couple of months in terms of a reduced waistline and healthy weight loss.
  • Increase your time: If you’ve started with a 30-minuteday session but are looking for faster results it would be best to walk a little more. Even a ten-minute increase in walking means shedding off an extra 50 to 60 calories a day which translates into around 350 calories a week or more than 1,000 calories a month. Over a period of time you will see the benefits of this.
  • Make it a pleasurable experience: If you find walking boring, then you should take some prompt action before you give up out of sheer boredom. Do you like music? Then invest in an IPod filled with your favourite songs. Another great way to make things interesting is to get a walking buddy. But be sure both of you are serious walkers and do not slow each other down.
So, what are you waiting for? With so many proven benefits of this simple daily regimen, buy yourself a pair of sturdy walking shoes and hit a park nearest to your house. Your heart, blood pressure and joints will thank you for it. But more than that, your slim and trim figure will make you a cynosure of all eyes.

WALKING & CALORIE LOSS
  • Though it also depends upon your weight and other conditions like the kind of surface you are walking on and the weather conditions, a rough guide is that you lose around 200 calories per hour if you are walking at 4 kmph.
  • The brisker you walk the better the weight loss.
  • But it is best to take clearance from your doctor before embarking upon a weight-loss walking regimen.