Top reasons why people should walk

Two female joggers on foggy Morro Strand State Beach
Indian people are gearing up for the festive seasons with zeal and enthusiasm. The festive season, however, bring in lots of issues and concerns particularly, when one steps out from home. Primary among them are traffic congestion, pollution, rising fuel prices, which in-turn increase stress and create health problems. Experts are of the opinion that walking is simplest way and most economical method to reduce the problems and enjoy the festive season to the fullest: Here are the reasons: Contribute to Environment: Stance: When you walk you are also contributing to the planet’s health. Simple measures like walking the smaller distances instead of taking your car can also do wonders for the environment. Just imagine a place like Delhi with over million vehicles plying on the road very day. What could be the impact if we take a pledge to walk smaller distance wherever possible and not use vehicles? Proof points: * If we all swap one car journey a week to walking, traffic levels would reduce by at least 10 per cent * One person switching five journeys of under 2 km a week from car travel to walking would reduce their carbon footprint by 86 kg of CO2 a year. The average car produces three tonnes of CO2 a year. Reduce stress and be Healthy:  Stance: Walking is a magic pill, a panacea for reducing the risk so many lifestyle diseases. And the best part is that this pill is free!! It needs just a bit of your time. Proof points: * What if you were to find a magic pill that can reduce your risk of getting cancer by 20%, heart disease by 30% and diabetes by as much as 50%? * In the rat race of life, we tend to take important things like health for granted. We hate the deadlines and the pressures but cannot avoid it. We are on the move constantly and the stress finally gets to us in the form of the various chronic lifestyle diseases we are now struggling with. * Most Indians also work very long hours in high pressure jobs, generally up to 6 days a week, leaving no time for regular leisure time physical activity. Time consuming long distance commutes to work make it even more difficult to squeeze in a gym workout into their schedules. This makes walking a significant source of the minimum exercise needed by human bodies * Urbanisation has cost us dearly too. In India, cities initially built for walking and cycling have become overrun by cars, at the expense of walkers. The greater use of cars has resulted in a decrease of walking and corresponded with rising obesity levels around the world. * According to data available till December 2011, nearly 110 million people are believed to be suffering from serious illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases and cancer in India collectively. This figure is estimated to double in 15-20 years. * According to Dr Rajeev Virmani, Head of relationship, Max Bupa, 50% of those with symptoms of diabetes are not even aware that they have a serious health problem. In the case of people with coronary (heart) problems, it is even more startling that a majority of them are either not aware of it or simply continue to live in denial of the severity of their conditions. So what can we do to make our lives better? - In a study of women age 50 to 75, those who took one-hour morning walks were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk – Just 15 minutes more a day of brisk walking can have significant health benefits, even adding up to three years to our life expectancy. – A new study recently published online in the 'Current Archives of Internal Medicine' combined with a meta-analysis of several previous studies, has shown that moderate exercise can reduce the occurrence of serious illnesses by as much as 38 - 40%. According to the World Health Organization, a 150 minutes of exercise every week is highly recommended. To achieve this, it doesn’t necessarily mean a gruelling session at the gym or running a marathon – a simple change, like walking in either slow or brisk pace (individually or in group) will do. Walk for your loved one’s: Stance: Did you know that research data show 79 % of Indians feel that their attitude towards health stems from early influence of parental behavior. So it is on you to inculcate good healthy lifestyles in your children, so why not instill in them the benefits of walk by setting examples. Moreover while walking a distance with your loved ones bring you closer to the them, since you are able to interact more while you walk. This small investment of time can make your relationship much more smoother, Proof points: * A person's attitude towards healthy living stems from childhood days. It is influenced by parental behaviour. According to Bupa’s Survey, it has been found that 67% Indian respondents confirmed that they have been actively encouraged by their parents to exercise – in fact 30% agreed that their parents exercised regularly! * Walking is a good way to spend time with friends or family members and enjoy nature. Parking Woes: With at least 1,200 new vehicles being added to the city’s vehicular population every day, parking has become a huge headache. Encouraging people to walk while they go for a shopping can reduce this problem drastically. Keeping yourself healthy: Stance: Usually people eat more than they usually do during festivals especially, during Diwali. There are sweets of different kinds to a heavy menu of non-vegetarian food. Wherever you go, sweets are served. Not everyone makes sweets at home and people might offer what has been bought in stores. There is no guarantee what kind of oil, ghee or milk have been used, and whether the hygiene standards have been followed in mass production. While you might be tempted to taste some of these mouth-watering dishes, you might be able to reduce the impact on your health by walking the distance. Proof Points: * Diabetic clinics are flooded with people who have awry blood sugar levels on the morning after a festival. A doctor at MAX Healthcare, said, “Healthy sweet options, sugar-free, are now available... If you must eat, eat sugar-free sweets,” he adds. It is not wise for diabetics to miss medication. * A healthy trend that he has noticed this year is that boxes of nuts and dry fruits are increasingly taking the place of sweet boxes. * “Though high in calories, most nuts (almonds, walnuts, even groundnuts) are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids that do not increase bad cholesterol,” he said. He also suggests that fruit baskets be given as gifts during the festive season. Source: Indian ExpressImage:

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