Wednesday, August 7, 2013

WALKING YOUR WAY TO GOOD HEALTH

The correct way to do brisk walking. 

When I sold my Chrysler Alpine in 1998, I did not know at the time that it would be the last car I owned. I have not driven since, and have been depending largely on public transport and my own very reliable two feet to take me to my destinations. Together with rides from my friends, I can say it's definitely possible to survive in Kuala Lumpur without a car. I know many of my friends will disagree with me.

It's not that difficult to chalk up 10,000
steps a day on the pedometer.
Not having wheels means I walk a lot. Almost every day I walk to the nearest bus-stop to catch the bus to KLCC. From there I either take the LRT, RapidKL bus or Go-KL shuttle bus to my destinations, which can be anywhere in the Klang Valley.

I look at walking as good exercise. I walk to my neighbourhood supermarket to get my groceries, to the bank to do my financial transactions and to the post office to pay my bills. Sure, I can do most of these chores online, but that would reduce my daily dose of walking. If I do my errands early around 9 am or 10 am, I get the warm morning sunlight on my skin. That's free vitamin D.

Walking for hours in a shopping mall does not count as exercise as it is not continuous. To derive any health benefits from walking, it has to be brisk walking for at least 30 minutes and done on a regular basis.


I can't think of a better exercise for seniors than brisk walking. It is not as taxing on our knees as jogging or aerobics at the gym. It is free, apart from a small investment in a good pair of walking shoes. You can do it practically anywhere, alone or with friends or neighbours in your housing area. Back in the 1980s when I was a gym enthusiast, I did power walking either with light weight dumb-bells or ankle weights to strengthen my arm and leg muscles. But I wouldn't recommend this to anyone above 50.

Nordic Walking session led by Mrs Jagjeet Singh

There's also Nordic Walking, that is walking with a pair of sticks or poles to give the body a total workout. My good friend, Mrs Jagjeet Singh is the only certified instructor for Nordic walking in Malaysia. If you are interested to learn more, you can email her at mrsjagjeetmrsj@gmail.com
Getting ready to brisk walk for charity

To add variety to your walking regime, participate in walking events that are open to the public. It is a pity the Malay Mail has stopped organizing the popular Big Walk. The inaugural Big Walk was held in 1960. I believe the last one in 2007 attracted more than 10,000 participants. It was one of my favourite sports events. These days there are so many charity walks that you can sign up for, and help a good cause as well. I took part in the Love PJ Run on 6 July. I chose to walk not run, and finished the 3 km route in a decent 20 minutes. My next one is the annual Terry Fox Run which raises funds for cancer research.

Walking the dog gets you walking too

Here's what Mayo Clinic has to say about the health benefits of walking:

Physical activity doesn't need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

For example, regular brisk walking can help you:
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Lift your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination
  • The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

If you can't do brisk walking, even a leisurely stroll after an evening meal can do wonders for your health. Work those leg muscles. Remember if you don't use them, you lose them. When that happens, you lose your mobility and independence. If your housing area is not conducive for walks or strolls, go to the nearest park. The popular ones are Bukit Kiara and Taman Jaya. In Kuala Lumpur you have Taman Titiwangsa and KLCC Park. There are many more, I am sure.

For the elderly, a leisurely stroll in the park can be invigorating
Even a few slow steps daily with a walking
aid can improve blood circulation and
strengthen leg muscles
Happy Walking!

6 comments:

Jagjeet Singh said...

Congrats Lily. A splendid article reminding everyone especially senior citizens the value of walking; the different types of walks and forms of exercise that are free and readily available to every one. I like your emphasis on "regular" walks because that is essential. Also, when you walk you are outdoors and close to Nature and that in itself is rejuvenating and invigorating. Mrs Jagjeet Singh

el-f said...

Glad you liked the article. Thanks for sharing it with your friends. Happy Walking!

Allen Ng said...

Given the deteriorating state of public security in this country our streets, parks, and even whole city blocks and neighborhoods are unsafe for exercise walking. I imagine criminal acts, hidden in the shadows eg snatch thefts, muggings, unprovoked armed and unarmed attacks, kidnappings and hijackings, appear to lurk at every nook and corner. If you have to walk outdoors it is advisable to chose a secured environment to walk, inform others of your walking destinations, get a few male friends to tag along if you are a woman walker and lastly, always walk in groups instead of alone.

el-f said...

Allen, I agree with you 100%. Good advice. Our streets are no longer as safe as before. Whether we are walking or driving, we just have to take extra precaution.

Jagjeet Singh said...

Hi Lily, a reader of your blog who read this article tried to get in touch with me by sending me an email using the email address provided by you but realised the email address was incorrect. Should be mrsjagjeetmrsj@gmail.com

You had left out the j in jagjeet . No wonder I got no responses from anyone except this lady that too after 2 months because she googled MRS J and NORDIC WALKING. She was at my place today. Hope you will kindly insert a j in jagjeet .TQ Mrs J

el-f said...

Mrs J, pity you didn't spot the error in your own email address when you read the article. Otherwise I would have corrected it much earlier. I wasn't even aware of the error. Anyway, it has been rectified. My apologies.