Good Vibes – Issue#24 – All about walking – warmup, toolkit to take care of feet, how much to walk and more..
Here’s your weekly dose of Good Vibes. Welcome 118 new members to the growing community who believe in science based simple tools to take care of their health.
Walking, a simple activity that you’ve been doing since you were about a year old, is now being touted as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug’. What’s more, it’s free and has practically no negative side effects. Walking for 2.5 hours a week—that’s just 21 minutes a day—can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity, has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. Walking can even help your mood. A number of studies have found that it’s as effective as drugs for decreasing depression, as mood-elevating endorphin levels increase. It can help relieve everyday stresses too. I studied a lot of information from the Harvard Health Publishing’s website, to collet this information. Visit their website for various health related queries
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Technically, you started walking way back when you were about a year old. And unless you have some type of disability or condition that prevents you from walking, you’re still doing it—as you have, practically every day of your life.
Its Easy. You already know how to do it. Just put one foot in front of the other. You can do it anywhere. Step out of your front door. Take a walk from your workplace. You can walk to places that you frequent, such as the grocery store, a shopping center, a place of worship. You don’t need any special equipment. If you’re walking for exercise, it’s the best to have a comfortable pair of shoes, preferably sneakers. But that’s it! While there are some items of clothing and gear that can make walking more enjoyable they are not essential. It’s gentle on your knees—and the rest of your body. Unlike running, you keep one foot on the ground at all times when you’re walking, making it a low-impact, joint-friendly exercise.
It’s healthy. More than 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine.” Today, there’s a lot of research to back up his statement. It protects your heart. Harvard University researchers followed more than 70,000 women, age group 40 to 65, for eight years, and found that walkers were less likely to die from heart disease. Those who logged walking for three or more hours a week (or 25 minutes a day) reduced their risk of dying due to heart disease, by 35%. Even those who were sedentary at the beginning of the study lowered their risk when they started walking during the study. So it’s never too late! It helps to stay off diabetes. Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles more often and making them work harder, improves their ability to use insulin and absorb blood sugar (glucose). This puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. Walking briskly for a half-= an hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%. For those already at risk, doing shorter bursts of walking throughout the day may be even more effective. One study found that a 15-minute walk immediately after every meal provided better blood sugar regulation than a single daily 45 minute morning walk. If you already have diabetes, increasing activity throughout the day by 4,000 steps or more can improve levels of HbA1c. It helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a primary risk factor for heart disease and strokes, but walking is an effective way to lower blood pressure, according to a review of 27 studies. It reduces falls and fractures. When you were a kid, a broken bone was an opportunity for all your friends to sign your cast, but as you age, falling and breaking a bone can be a serious problem. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both nonfatal and fatal injuries. One out of five people who suffer a hip fracture from a fall dies within a year. While the statistics are frightening, they are not a reason to hunker down on the sofa to avoid a fall. Staying active keeps your muscles strong and flexible so you’ll be less likely to take a spill. And weight-bearing activities like walking will keep your bones stronger so you’ll be less likely to break one if you do fall. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard University researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in more than 12,000 men and women to determine how much these genes contribute to body weight. Then they examined those people’s exercise habits and found that in men and women who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the genetic effect was cut in half. It reduces the risk of developing cancer. In 2008, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans noted that exercise like brisk walking lowered risk for breast cancer and colon cancer. Now there’s enough solid evidence to demonstrate that exercise can also lower the risk of six other types of cancer— bladder, endometrial, esophageal, kidney, lung, and stomach. And for people who already have cancer, a study from England showed that walking can help reduce the side effects of treatment, improve quality of life, and possibly extend life. It helps tame a sweet tooth. If you’re a chocoholic who’s trying to cut back, start walking! A 15-minute walk has been shown to curb cravings for chocolate, according to a study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. It improves sleep. A 45-minute morning walk or racking up 10,000 steps throughout the day have both been found to help you fall asleep faster, according to two separate studies. It sharpens your thinking. The hippocampus—a section of the brain that’s crucial to memory—typically shrinks by 1% to 2% a year in older adults. In one study, researchers found that walking 10 kms a week for a year not only offset the shrinkage, it actually increased hip-pocampal volume by 2%. It boosts your mood. Anyone who’s taken a walk when feeling blue, knows that it’s a great, instant mood booster and studies support this. But even for more serious depression, walking is a viable remedy. In fact, it can be just as effective as drugs, according to a 16-week study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
It’s fun. To some people, exercise feels like drudgery. With walking, however, you can pamper yourself in multiple ways while still getting a workout. You can do it with others. Invite family, friends, or co-workers to join you for a walk. It’s a great way to catch up or get to know someone better. And if you need to have a tough conversation with someone, try doing it while walking. Striding side by side can make discussions easier because you’re more relaxed than when you’re sitting face to face. You can get “me” time. Heading out by yourself can be a good way to escape the demands and expectations that occupy much of your time. As you stroll, you can clear your head, relax, and reflect. It can be valuable, quiet “me” time, allowing you to return refreshed. I listen to all my podcast while walking. You can enjoy a dose of nature. Studies show that spending time in parks or near water can boost your mood. Walking is a great way to get out in nature. You can be more creative. Stanford University researchers found that people generated twice as many creative responses to problems when walking than sitting. And the creative juices continued to flow even when they sat down after their walk—another good reason to take a walking break during the workday.
Your feet are your most valuable walking asset, so make sure that you’re taking good care of them. Purchasing the right shoes and socks is definitely a great place to start. But you’ll also want to take good care of your feet when you’re not exercising. Following are some easy ways to pamper your feet and prevent problems.
- Limit heel time (for women). High heels can contribute to back and knee problems, not to mention a variety of foot problems. Stick to heels no higher than three- quarters of an inch whenever possible.
- Put your feet up. For at least a few minutes a day, lie back with your feet propped up to reduce swelling and improve circulation.
- Go barefoot. Your feet need time to breathe and stretch out. Walking barefoot also works the muscles in your feet more than walking in shoes. However, you should limit your barefoot walking to indoor environments where you don’t have to worry about stepping on something—and also take care not to stub your toes.
- Stretch your toes. Here’s another way to counteract when you are confined in the shoes for a long time. Lace your fingers in between your toes and hold for a minute or so for each foot. Aim to do this at least once day.
- Massage your feet. To help revive tired feet, roll each one over a tennis ball or a cold or frozen water bottle. Give yourself a foot massage or enlist your partner to give you one. The rubbing and kneading will ease soreness or stiffness and increase circulation.
- Keep your toenails trimmed. This will prevent rubbing against the front of your sneakers that could cause problems.
As you get older, the stroll that was once a walk in the park may get difficult for any number of reasons: angina, arthritis, poor balance, failing vision. In the later decades of life, walking becomes as much an indicator of health as a promoter of it. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have published research in JAMA showing that after about age 65, how fast you walk may predict how long you will live.
Walking (gait) speed has long been recognized as a proxy for overall health and vitality and has been measured in many research projects. The University of Pittsburgh researchers pooled results of nine studies involving nearly 35,000 people and found a remarkably consistent association between faster gait speed and longer life, in both men and women ages 65 and older. More precisely, each increase of 0.1 meter per second in gait speed was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of dying during a given study’s follow-up period (from six to 21 years, depending on the study). They also calculated that people with gait speeds of 1 meter per second ( 3.5 kms per hour) or faster lived longer than would be expected given their age or gender.When other factors such as body mass index and past hospitalisation were considered, the relationship between gait speed and longevity didn’t change much, suggesting that walking speed is independently associated with life expectancy, not just a marker for other conditions that would affect it.
While this study didn’t determine whether improving walking speed would increase life span, other research from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that it might. Researchers tested walking speed in a group of nearly 500 men and women, ages 65 and older, over the course of a year and categorised everyone based on whether their walking speed improved. During the eight-year follow-up, only 32% of the speedier walkers died, compared with 49% of the steady-paced walkers. It’s never too late to put a little spring in your steps.
Health agencies urge all adults to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week (for example, 30 minutes on each of five days) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Depending upon the speed or intensity of your walks, walking could be classified as either moderate or vigorous. While the guidelines provide a good target, plenty of research has shown that walking has benefits even if you don’t hit the recommended amounts. Some is always better than none. However, more is better than some, according to a review of 22 studies—particularly when it comes to reducing your risk for heart disease. Walkers, who go longer or faster, lower their risk more than those who take shorter walks or go at slower paces. And the faster you walk as you age, the longer you may live.
Technique and proper form There’s more to walking than simply putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, a little technique goes a long way to making your walks more enjoyable and more effective.Technique is especially important if you are hoping to become fitter and lose weight, because it will enable you to walk faster and longer. When you’re standing tall, your muscles will move through a greater range of motion for a more powerful stride. Improving your walking posture will help you to look and feel more confident, too and you’ll look slimmer before losing a single pound. It will also help alleviate aches and pains in your upper and lower back and allow you to take deep breaths for more energy.
- Stand tall. Many people bring that hunched-over- the-computer posture to their walks. This position makes it harder for you to breathe and may contribute to backaches. Other people lean backward. Instead, extend your spine as if you were being lifted from the crown of your head. Place your thumbs on your lower ribs and your fingertips on your hips. As you engage your core muscles in your abdomen and back to stand up tall, notice how the distance in between increases. Try to maintain this elongation as you walk. Strengthening your core (abs, back, hips, and buttocks) will make it easier to stand tall as you walk.
- Eyes up. If you’re looking down at your feet, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your upper back and neck. Bring your gaze out about 10 to 20 feet in front of you. You’ll still be able to spy obstacles ahead and prevent upper-body tension.
- Shoulders back, down, and relaxed. Roll your shoulders up, back, and then down. This is where your shoulders should be as you walk—not pulled up toward your ears. Think about keeping your shoulders away from your ears to reduce upper-body tension and allow for a freer arm swing.
- Swing from your shoulders. Let your arms swing freely from your shoulders, not your elbows. Swing your arms forward and back, like a pendulum. Don’t bring them across your body or let them go higher than your chest.
- Maintain a neutral spine. A neutral spine takes into account the slight natural curves of the spine—it’s not flexed or arched to overemphasize the curve of the lower back. One way to find neutral is to tip your pelvis forward as far as it’s comfortable (lifting your tailbone up), then tip it backward (tucking your tailbone under) as far as it’s comfortable. The spot approximately in the middle should be neutral.
- Step lightly. You should be rolling from heel to toe as you stride, not landing flat-footed with a thud. And don’t reach your leg far out in front of you. That increases impact on your joints and actually slows you down. You want a smooth, quiet stride—no bouncing or plodding along—to reduce your risk of injury.
Instead of instantly going from 0 kmph to 5 or 6, you’ll feel a lot better when your body has time to warm up. The best way to do this is to start by strolling at a slower pace for five to 10 minutes. This will warm up your muscles so they are more flexible. In addition, your heart rate and breathing will increase to get more blood and oxygen to fuel your working muscles.
Starting position: Stand with your feet together. You can grab on to a chair or railing for balance if needed.
Movement: Lift your heels and roll up onto your toes and hold. Slowly lower your heels, then roll back onto your heels, pulling your toes up.
Where you’ll feel it: shins, calves, and feet
Reps: 10 to 20 Hold: 2 or 3 seconds
Starting position: Stand tall with your feet together. Shift your weight to your left foot. You can grab on to a chair or railing for balance if needed.
Movement: Slowly swing your right leg forward and back, increasing your range of motion by lifting your leg a little higher each time, up to about a foot or so off the ground. Squeeze your glutes on the back swing.
Where you’ll feel it: hips, glutes, and legs
Reps: 10 to 20 with each leg.
Starting position: Stand tall with your feet together and raise your right knee in front of you. You can grab on to a chair or railing for balance if needed.
Movement: Slowly move your right knee clockwise in a circle, rotating from your hip. Do the recommended number of reps, then switch legs and repeat. Then repeat the sequence circling in the other direction.
Where you’ll feel it: hips, glutes, and legs
Reps: 8 to 10 with each leg in each direction
Click here to check how to do.
Starting position: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
Movement: With your arms extended, gently swing your arms forward and back, swinging from your shoulders. Do the recommended number of reps, then bend your arms to about 90-degree angles and swing them for another set of reps.
Where you’ll feel it: arms, shoulders, chest, and back
Reps: 20 in each position, counting each arm swing forward as one rep
Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms bent in front of your chest.
Movement: Slowly rotate your upper body to the left as far as it feels comfortable, while keeping your lower body facing forward. Return to the center. Rotate to the right. Return to the center. That’s one rep. Do the recommended number of reps. Then repeat the sequence, but this time rotate your entire body, including your hips, allowing the heel of the opposite foot to come off the ground (so as you rotate to the right, your left heel will rise). Return to the center and rotate to the opposite side, and back to the center again. That’s one rep in the new position.
Where you’ll feel it: abs, back, and hips
Reps: 10 to 15 in each position
You can see the demo here
Did you know that walking is the No. 1 form of physical activity among people who’ve successfully lost weight? The American National Weight Control Registry is a study of more than 5,000 successful weight losers, who’ve lost 66 pounds on average and kept them off for an average of five-and-a-half years. When researchers reviewed the exercise habits of the group, walking topped the list, with 52% of men and women reporting that they walk a mile or more a day.
So if weight loss is your goal, walking can definitely help, but you’ll need to do more than just put one foot in front of the other. If you’re starting from ground zero—the couch—then leisurely strolls around your block or accumulating steps throughout the day may be enough to get the needle on the scale moving. But if you keep doing the same thing day after day, the weight loss will likely plateau. To start losing again, you need to change things up—walk farther, walk faster, walk more often. If you’re not up for going fast your entire walk, intervals are a good option. In a Danish study, when people with diabetes tried interval walking for four months, they lost six times as much weight—9.5 versus 1.5 pounds—and shed more belly fat than people with diabetes who didn’t vary their walking speed.
Go faster The number of calories you burn increases somewhat as you go faster, but the benefits really kick in when you speed up over a 6 kms per hour. Counterintuitively, taking longer strides is not the best way to speed up. Rather, taking quicker steps with good posture (keeping your head up and not bending over) and proper technique (bending your arms and rolling from heel to toe) are the foundation for improving your pace. Focus on a spot ahead of you. Walkers who focused their attention on a cone ahead of them walked 23% faster to get to it than did walkers who looked at their surroundings as well as the cone, according to research published in the journal Motivation and Emotion. Even though they were moving faster, the focused group reported that the walk was easier than did those, who spent more time looking around. Strength train. Strong leg and buttock muscles power your stride, and a strong core helps you stay pain-free as you sustain higher speeds. When a group of women, average age 61, did exercises to strengthen their quadriceps, they were able to walk up to 15% faster after four weeks of training, according to one study. Stretch. Flexibility also influences speed. Tight hip flexors (the muscles at the top of your thighs) limit your range of motion and prevent you from fully extending your leg behind you for a powerful push-off. Climb hills. Whether you head outdoors or crank up the incline on a treadmill, making your walks vertical gives your glutes a more intense workout. In one study, walking uphill activated three times as many muscle fibers in the buttocks compared with walking on level terrain. Translation: you’ll firm up your back- side faster with hills. Adding incline also elevates your calorie burn by about 60% without any change in speed. Take the stairs. Anyone who’s huffed and puffed up a flight or two of stairs can attest that stair climbing provides an aerobic workout. Even at slow paces, stair climbing cranks up your calorie burn two to three times more than regular walking. Going downstairs does not provide as much of an aerobic workout in any case.
FITStar of the week – Dr Sudha Jha
Wild Card challenge – Push Ups
Dr. Sudha Jha has been going to the gym regularly since 2012. She has been working out since last two years. at home and also started running since last Summer. She loves being a part of 100day challenge -2 and find it very interesting and motivating, especially the wild cards challenges. She is determined to stay physically fit and mentally sound.
Her motivation comes from the results she achieves with her consistency. She is inspired by her nephew, who is a busy neurosurgeon and fitness enthusiast. Her fitness tips to fellow challenge participants are, ‘believe in yourself’, ‘don’t give up ever’ and ‘listen to your body always’. Dr. Jha adds, “Don’t push yourself too hard always , sometimes little enjoyments and pleasures go a long way in making our lives easier and more joyful”.
Option 1 (Refer to 1st image)
10 push-ups – 15 points and for every additional there after, 2 points per push up.
Option 2 (Refer to 2nd image)
If you do push ups with knees on the floor, 15 push-ups – 15 points No further point for additional push ups
– the push-up count has to be at one go.
– No points for below 10 push-ups (option 1) Or below 15 push-ups (option 2)
Upload the activity video on social media (Pl ensure that if it’s on Instagram, it’s not a private activity) and share the link or upload the video on activity dashboard in the website.
The challenge is open from April 11- 18th