Not only to maintain physical fitness, but also our health in general, we should not forget about regular physical activity. Well… at this point I am not really sure whether the first sentence is actually a good starting point to urge any form of physical activity – based on the fact that it is statistically proven that the “over-civilized” modern population is generally lazy and comfortable. At least a high majority of it.
Maybe this lazy part of population would at least reflect on the most proven and widely publicized fact that in terms of our health the most promising form of movement is an ordinary walk. That’s right, a walk – an activity which everyone knows, does everyday thoughtlessly – a simple activity, yet so powerful. “Walking for weight loss” is quite a popular keyword recently and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.
Walking for weight loss
We don’t have to suffer in the gym, sweat in aerobics, swim kilometers in the pool or ride tens of kilometers on bycicle… yes, I may be exaggerating a bit, but these are the main reasons why most of us try to avoid such activities – in our minds they are associated with big effort).
One of the most important indicators which shows us if we are doing the physical activity right is heart beat rate. If we focus on an activity to strengthen our cardiovascular system, we need to calculate our maximum heart rate (easiest formula: 220 minus our age, and then ensure that we get to around 50-60% of this maximum rate). If we don’t want to calculate anything there is another, easier test – if we are able to talk while doing the physical activity, it is an indicator that we are aerobic mode, which is exactly what we need.
What can we achieve by all this?
Whether we choose jogging or a brisk walking, we need to get to the desired heart beat rate zone. Our body will “tune” itself into the state when literally miracles begin to happen:
1. Our body will begin to use fat as the primary energy source. This results in reduction of fat!
2. In this mode, the cardiovascular system function is being optimized. The result (although long-term, but this should be our goal) is the prevention of most emerging heart and cardiac diseases.
3.Our body starts to produce endorphins, which support good mood.
4. We improve our physical condition – for example, we don’t get breathless when walking upstairs any more.
5. Walking strengthens the bones, which in the long run will prevent the development of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease, which occurs on half of women after menopause and about 25% of men after 60. year of life.
6. Walking is the most natural form of movement, thus saving (among others) our joints. Therefore it’s an ideal form of movement for people whose weight or health don’t allow them other forms of activities.
Today, so-called Nordic walking is spreading rapidly. Nordic walking originated in the late 20. century in Scandinavia and is nothing else than walking with sticks. It remotely resembles a cross country skiing and is a much more complex form of activity that the “ordinary” walk – many more muscle groups are used and at the same time, the joint apparatus of lower limbs is saved so that overweight people can do nordic walking too.
Walking really offers a lot of advantages and may not necessarily be associated with the word “sport”, which many people don’t like (for different reasons). Even ancient Greek physician Hippocrates considered walking at “the best medicine” for the man.
The only thing it will cost us is a bit of time (but that is always the best investment, isn’t it?), appetite and energy and a good shoes.