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HEALTH: Walking, Probably The Greatest Medicine


"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will invest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" - Thomas Edison


When Hippocrates said that "walking is a man's best medicine" he didn't realize that thousands of years later many more benefits of walking way beyond his imagination would be discovered as we walk our way to great health. We often hear laughter being described as "the best medicine" but the health benefits of walking dwarf those of laughter.


Isn't it amazing how exciting ideas pop up as you take a brisk walk out-doors? If you haven't experienced that yet then you surely haven't worked outdoors enough. Give it a try.


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MAKING A CASE FOR WALKING

  1. Easy to do

a. Walking is generally easy to do. No special skills needed. Get a good pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothing and you are on your way to great health.


2. Safe to do

a. Walking does not involve a great deal of physical exertion. Many of us can walk even without clearance from our doctor. It is not as stressful to the body as many other exercises.


3. Walking; it makes business sense.

a. You do not need to buy expensive equipment, instructional videos et cetera in order to learn how to walk. Yes, it may have limitations in terms of working your muscles and also having adequate space but there are many ways to get round these minor challenges.


4. Walking does not lack variety.

a. Walking is not boring. We certainly can spice things up by walking on flat surfaces, walking up slopes, interchanging walking at a brisk pace with a relaxed pace (interval training) and even walking while carrying small weights.


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5. Keeps the doctor away.

a. If we could pledge to walk briskly for at least thirty (30) minutes a day, five (5) days a week, then our long list of benefits will include:

I. Weight control

ii. Blood pressure, blood sugar, and bad cholesterol control.

iii. Reduces heart attack risk

iv. Enhances stamina and energy

v. Lessons anxiety and tension

vi. Eases back pain

vii. Slow down bone loss

viii. Manages the negative effects of arthritis


DOING IT RIGHT

Helpful tips that will make your walk more rewarding.

  1. Posture is key

a. In order to get the most out of walking, good posture is crucial. Keep your head up and spine straight and look straight ahead. Keep your arms and shoulders loose. Do look down occasionally to avoid possible road obstacles.

2. Take deep regular breaths

a. Do not hold your breath

3. Walk, don't run

a. To get the most out of your walk you should keep a brisk pace but not fast. If it is difficult to breathe easily, slow down.


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4. Stride

a. Try to take long smooth strides. Your motion should be fairly effortless with your arms swinging at your side for balance.


Dear friends, even if you cannot afford a gym membership or you find exercising in a gym unduly stressful, start walking TODAY! You may need to challenge yourself later but that is a discussion for the future. Make walking a high priority activity.


As always laugh often, ensure hygiene, walk and pray everyday and remember it's a priceless gift to know your number (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI).


Credit: Dr Kojo Cobba Essel

Health Essentils Ltd/Mobissel/St. Andrews Clinic (www.healthessentialsgh.com)

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