Take a walk!

Take a walk!

Take a walk!

Morning walks are a mild yet effective form of exercise that benefits the body as well as the mind. Here are some pointers to help you do it right.

Time, duration, place: Choose morning or evening hours. Night time is only meant for strolls and not for high-intensity exercises. A minimum of 30 minutes of walking is recommended, as it helps activate many chemical pathways in the brain. Walk in open spaces with fresh, clean air, or even indoors on a treadmill. An even surface is necessary to avoid injuries.

The pre-walk check: Fitting shoes and breathable clothing are recommended to ensure safety and temperature regulation. Walking on an empty stomach or after taking light snacks is fine. However, ensure clean bowels and bladder – eliminate waste to avoid undue stress on the nervous system. Start with slow, steady steps and build up to a comfortable speed. Gently flex your joints to warm up and prepare your body for the exercise.

Do it right: Ensure the soles of your feet are placed completely on ground. Load and pressure must be evenly distributed to avoid injuries. Move your hands to keep up the momentum.

Interval training: Change the speed at regular intervals. You can gradually start jogging too. However, if you have joint problems or other medical conditions, exercise caution. The ideal speed is between 4 to 6 km/hour. Vary walking style by raising the knees up, hopping gently, walking in reverse, taking long strides, walking on the spot, etc. 

Cool down: Slow down as you reach your destination and let your body cool down. Move your joints as before. Gently twist and bend your back and take a few deep breaths. Hydrate with room-temperature water.

(The author is chief medical officer, Swami Parmanand Prakritik Chikitsalaya Yoga & Anusandhan Kendra)