Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Those Who Won’t Run May Walk

Archie Modequillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — It is hard to get most people into a health-and-fitness program. They have endless reasons for their resistance. But with the ever-increasing cases of ailments related with sedentary lifestyles, people are more spurred to get up and get moving.

Experts say there’s no need to take the big leap all at once. One may ease his way into it – with little steps like using the stairs more often instead of the elevator, or walking instead of taking a ride to the corner. These are a good way of priming oneself for the more rigid physical exercises.

Walking, when done regularly, can already greatly contribute to one’s health and fitness while also training his body for sweating out more. It is perfect for people who are just getting started with an exercise program. Those exercise dropouts who have given up on their programs due to lack of time or space, or due to the increasing cost of joining a gym or fitness club, may also find walking as a good alternative fitness activity.

There is no need for elaborate, expensive gear or equipment in walking. Aerobic benefits can be achieved with a brisk walk that requires only a good pair of shoes and a little motivation. It doesn’t take much to get started on a walking routine, although it does take a bit more planning than simply marching out the door and down the street.

• First of all, one needs to find a place suitable for safe, stress-free walking. Initially, any flat course will do: a street, the neighborhood sports court, a nearby park, or a spacious backyard.

• It’s good to have a walking companion, if possible. Although actually not an essential requirement for a successful walking program, a friend can provide extra motivation on those days when one feels like skipping a routine. Moreover, a companion is definitely an added safety factor.

• One may start at a comfortable pace, and time his walking. When he can enjoyably walk a kilometer in 15 minutes, he may start with that. He shall try to walk at least three times a week, and then eventually increase his mileage to, say, two kilometers in 30 minutes. He shall not force himself into it, though; he shall stop when feeling short of breath or becoming unusually uncomfortable.

• While walking, one shall be aware of his posture. He shall hold his head high, straighten his back, stand tall and not lean forward. His toes should point in the direction he is going. Proper posture will raise one’s center of gravity and make walking easier. Also, good body alignment can prevent backaches and headaches – complaints that are often the excuse for quitting the walking routine.

• One shall walk in full steps, knees straight not bent, and let the arms swing naturally from the shoulders. This will help to cover the most distance with the minimum amount of effort. A steady, rhythmic cadence gives one the drive and adds grace to his movement. At the same time, he shall breathe deeply and rhythmically. Breathing draws oxygen through the lungs and into the bloodstream, supplying it to the muscles at work in the walking activity. Oxygen is necessary for endurance and for burning extra fat deposits that saddle the functioning of body organs. It’s advisable to inhale deeply over a five- to six-step period, hold the breath for a similar period, and then slowly exhale. This way, one won’t tire easily, too.

• When one thinks he can manage, he may try wearing weights around his wrists and ankles. Weights can increase the number of calories burnt and help enhance aerobic fitness. A few extra pounds of weights will help improve one’s energy expenditure without him having to increase his distance or speed.

• It is good to keep a record of one’s walking routine. It will help him set goals and keep track of his progress. To be noted are the date, distance, and time it took him to finish the course. He shall write down, if he likes, certain observations – the weather, the people that he meets along the way. It can add fun to the walking.

• Once the walking program is started, there shall be no excuses to slow down on the routine. One shall commit to walk… through all kinds of weather, as long as there’s no eminent risk of an accident. And one shall walk in whatever moods he’s in.

It’s very likely to feel much better with a change in surroundings, every time. Even physical sluggishness can easily disappear once one starts moving.

If a lack of safe place is a problem, the malls may be considered. One may walk around each level of the building until he gets to the topmost floor. No one needs to know what he’s doing. And, given the lively mall environment, he’ll certainly have more fun in his walking.


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with