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Walking to a Healthier Life

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Today, when obesity has become prevalent, engaging in physical activities must be encouraged. Physical inactivity has been said to be a major contributing factor to early aging and acquiring chronic degenerative diseases, other than to death. There are many kinds of exercises a person can do. Enrolling in gym to do aerobics, body-building exercises or pilates (the recent trend among celebrities) are just a few of those regimens one can choose from. Of course, a person can always opt to choose the most suitable exercise deemed appropriate for a lifestyle, budget and time, among others. A simple brisk walking of 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week is sufficient physical activity. For those who lead a busy lifestyle, walking remains to be the easiest exercise. Walking can be done almost anywhere and anytime, which only needs a pair of comfortable shoes. In an the Philippine Association for the Study of Overweight and Obesity (PASOO) in Obesity Alert, September 2004, the article “Walking: A Step in the Right Direction”, stressed the benefits one can derive from walking. These include:

– giving a person more energy;

– making one feel good;

– helping one relax;

– helping reduce stress;

– helping one to sleep better;

– helping in toning muscle;

– helping in controlling appetite; and

– increasing the number of calories the body uses.


Before starting a walking program, however, it is very important that the following questions be answered first, just like in any other exercise program. Among these are:

– Has your doctor ever told you that you have heart trouble?

– When you exercise, do you have pains in the chest or on your left side (neck, shoulder or arm)?

– Do you feel faint or have dizzy spells?

– Do you feel extremely breathless after a mild activity?

– Has your doctor told you that you have high blood pressure?

– Has your doctor told you that you have bone or joint problems like arthritis, that could get worse if you exercise?

– Are you over 50 years old and not used to a lot of exercise?

– Do you have a condition or physical reason not mentioned here that might interfere with an exercise program? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please consult your doctor before starting a walking program or other forms of exercise. Walking properly is the first step to a successful walking program. It is recommended that you:

– walk with your chin up and shoulders held slightly back;

– walk so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first;

– roll your weight forward;

– walk with your toes pointed forward;

– swing your arms as you walk. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), recognize the importance of a wellness program in bringing about a healthy lifestyle among its staff. Thus it launched the FNRI Wellness Program spearheaded by Mrs. Celeste C. Tanchoco, Scientist III and Chief, Nutrition Science and Technology Division in September 22, 2004 at FNRI-DOST. The FNRI staff who enlisted in the program were made to choose an exercise regimen most appropriate for their health status and preference. One hour of official time in a week is allowed for the exercise routine. Some engaged in sports activities, such as basketball and badminton, while others do aerobics. The group engaging in sports activities like badminton and basketball still manages to sustain their activities, but some have shifted to brisk walking because of limited space in the Institute. Walking remains to be the easiest exercise and the least expensive. No special paraphernalia or outfit is needed. Only comfortable shoes and sheer determination are required to achieve desired results, whether it’s weight reduction or just to distress our lives from this fast paced world we live in. Let’s walk our way to health. LAKAD NA !

Contributed by Ma. Susan o. Encarnacion, RUMD