12 Ailments Your Daily Morning Walk Session Protects You From
A Daily Morning Walk Session in the Lap of Nature is Your Panacea
Hitherto, being a layman, I only knew a walk in the morning is good for health. Only when I accompanied a diabetic friend to a general physician did I come to know why and how a daily morning walk session not only brings immense benefits to us but also protects us from deadliest of ailments.
The facts that I recently learned about a pleasant morning stroll confirmed my belief that it’s really more than medicines, the best protection against diseases and without an iota of doubt, the cheapest one.
I fail to understand why some of my ailing friends and relatives, so dear to me, who could have benefitted beyond limits, do not take such an effortless, pleasant and yet necessary exercise.
Your Daily Morning Walk Session is a Magic Drug
It’s not an exciting, intriguing thing to say or know that there are a number of benefits connected with a morning walk. But many would raise their eyebrows in disbelief when I say a walk by the calm bank of a river or down a path flanked by foliage rich trees could prevent you from as many as 12 deadly diseases.
I’ve seen many of my friends and relatives doing rounds in hospitals for X-rays, ultrasound, ECG and various other pathological tests. Moreover, queuing up for your turn to meet the physician at the moment you need a wholesome rest is really a life draining act.
If you really want to escape such moments and enjoy life in its truest sense, a peaceful, joyful and free walk in the serene morning hours is the right prescription for you. More so, if you have the company of your best friend and have the luxury of a neat and clean spot full of nature’s eternal beauties.
To understand the significance of such a walk one must be acquainted with the dangers which might otherwise be waiting to prey on us. Let’s go through the list of ailments (alphabetical order) which a daily morning walk saves us from.
Walking: The Magic drug
Aging is a broad superset word encompassing slowing or deterioration in the functioning of organs of the body with the passage of age.
For example, for a normal person of an age exceeding 25-30, the heart starts losing a beat per minute in a year's time. Also, every 10 years the peak blood pumping capacity of the heart drops down by about 5%-10%. Skin glow also decreases with age.
The viscosity of blood increases with age decreasing the ease (for the heart) with which it can be pumped inside the blood vessels. The stiffening of muscles and ligaments progresses.
Moreover, with age blood sugar tends to rise, musculature decreases, fat and bad cholesterol increase and calcium content in the bones decreases.
- But the magic drug, walking, helps. A regular daily morning walk session of about 20 minutes wherein you walk briskly can produce substantial benefits. It is generally advised that those who are starting afresh, should start with a small span and build up towards the final span gradually in weeks to months.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Dementia is a general term that encompasses diseases in which the functioning power of mind decreases. Alzheimer is a kind of dementia wherein memory and thought functions are more affected and may come in the way of daily chores of the victim.
- Research studies have shown that walking (experimented on the treadmill) has improved the working of the brain in terms of memory recalling by those suffering from cognitive impairment- known to be an indicator to the onset of Dementia.
- A 20 minutes speed walking has been prescribed as being better than a course of a drug.
Anxiety is a condition of mind and body which manifests itself in the form of restlessness and uneasiness. Palpitation, nervousness and a feeling of panic generally accompany the victim.
It may be caused due to factors like coming across a shocking news, heart problems, lack of sleep, fearful anticipation of an unwanted scenario, a feeling of separation from something or somebody etc.
- Brisk walking has been medically observed to provide relief to patients sufferings from anxiety. Though such a relief is temporary it helps. Fits of anxiety and depression are less aggressive in people who take regular walks or light exercise. Walking consumes energy and thus does not allow excess energy to build up which sometimes, is one of the causes of restlessness. Moreover, the mind needs rest due to the fatigue caused by a brisk walk. This reduces the chances of the brain to indulge in unwanted thoughts likely to lead to depression and anxiety. Walking also leads to cure sleeplessness and improve breathing pattern. Both are helpful against anxiety.
- Brisk walking, being a cardiovascular exercise, releases endorphins which are natural painkillers secreted in the brain. This definitely helps to reduce anxiety.
How Walking Helps Against Anxiety and Depression
Arthritis in its simplest form is the pain of joints.
- A brisk walk provides improvement against arthritis by way of
- Reducing your weight and thereby decreasing the load on your joints.
- Making your bones stronger.
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque is formed inside the arteries resulting in clogging and hardening. Plaque refers to blocking substances formed from waste secreted by cells, fibrin, cholesterol and other fat-containing materials.
Diseases caused due to atherosclerosis are angina, coronary heart disease, chest pain etc.
Here we need to know that two types of cholesterol are formed in the body: bad cholesterol and good cholesterol.
Now, more amount of good cholesterol is required to prevent the body from the diseases caused due to atherosclerosis.
- It has been learned that brisk walking, like other forms of aerobic exercises, helps to produce more good cholesterol. Consequently, your morning walk session has the effect of reducing triglycerides level. Good cholesterol also transports bad cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver which extracts them out.
Cancer is mostly a disease taking form from poor life style. So it can be fought well with the help of walking.
- Do you know that by walking a mile a day one can minimize the risk of dying from two most common cancers, i.e. breast and prostate cancer?
- A study in France has shown that women with menopause, the group most prone to breast cancer, were able to reduce the chance of suffering from cancer by light exercises like walking for about 4 hours a week.
The Coronary Heart Disease which is commonly known as Heart Disease occurs due to clogging of arteries that supply O2 and nutrition to the heart. Due to such blockage, the patient may get mild to fatal attacks.
- A 6 year study at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley says that walking is as good as running provided you put in the same amount of total energy (perhaps by expanding time span- that's what I inferred from the finding) when it comes to saving you from cardiovascular diseases due to diabetes or high BP or high accumulation of bad cholesterol.
- Another research also shows that just 20 minutes of brisk walking has the ability to reduce the probability of heart failure by about 20%. How easy/ No?
Preventing Cardiac Disease with Walking
It’s difficult to believe that a trifle less than one-third of the United States population lives with this cold-blooded killer.
- Though walking may not provide a complete cure for it but sure, it’s a healer in this regard. Moderate work out which walking provides along with a chance of social contact, relieves one of pain, both physically and mentally.
- We may think of walking as an endurance exercise in old age, which helps with prevention of muscles turning to fat. Also, the pains caused due to anxiety and increase in sugar levels are well taken care of by walking.
Perhaps diabetes is the most commonly occurring lifestyle disease. It is caused due to a decreased level of production of insulin by pancreas or due to body becoming more resistant to insulin.
- Regular brisk walks improve body’s performance with accepting insulin. Hence, remarkable improvement is observed in decrease in sugar levels in the blood.
Insomnia is related to sleep disorders or inability to have a quiet sleep. Among other causes, one is chronic inflammation and increased level of cytokines (Substances secreted by the immune system which have an effect on other body cells).
- It is generally believed that grounding the feet by way of bare feet walking in grass or sand relieves you of inflammation. Yet there is a scientific reason to believe that. Here it is:
Our immune system releases neutrophils (the most abundant kind of WBCs) to tackle pathogens and damaged cells. These secret reactive oxygen molecules, also known as free radicals. These nascent molecules either take away or give electrons from or to a healthy cell rendering it defective. Immune system sends another neutrophil to tackle the issue. The whole process repeats and builds a static on the body. The inflammation caused this way may be one of the reasons for sleeplessness.
Now when the body gets grounded the static that the body builds up over time gets drifted away either from earth to the ground or vice versa. Sleep pattern improves due to this.
Lung diseases either affect the tracts which carry into or out of the lungs or blood circulation in lungs or the blood tissues.
Lung diseases like COPD, Pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema can be fought to a certain extent by walking. Patients suffering from such diseases need to strengthen their immune systems because they are more prone to bacteria and viruses.
- Walking can boost your resistance against such harmful pathogens by way of increasing your neutrophil, monocyte and natural killer cell counts.
- Besides, while walking in the early morning hours you stand to benefit from the fresh air provided in the vicinity of trees which are natural filters of pollutants and replacers of CO2 with O2.
A person’s BMI is calculated by dividing her weight in kg by the square of height in meters.
BMI=(Weight in kilograms)/ (Height in meters)^2
If this ratio is more than 30, you are said to be obese.
- A two-year extensive research at Harvard School of Public Health has brought to light the fact that the genetic effect on BMI is reduced by 0.06 kg/m^2 if you take a walk for an hour at a brisk speed.
Losing Weight Through Walking
Improve on Aspects Connected with Your Morning Walk Session
Walking, anybody can argue, is not a cure in itself. Neither is it a complete exercise. But perhaps nobody would disagree that it’s one of the most enjoyable exercises.
Yeah!! I know you’re thinking of a Zumba evening session. I agree you’ll enjoy more. But forget not… where walking will come without a dime, each Zumba training or workout session may cost you anywhere between $5 to $12 (though monthly or bigger plans may cost you somewhat less). Moreover, there’s no gainsaying walking is the easiest exercise.
However, correct posture of walking, proper clothing, good venues, variation in walking conditions etc. are some factors which must be taken care of to make your walk a pleasing, satisfying and useful one.
Though how much or how long to walk varies from one person to another a thumb rule is: 6000 steps a day for a general health maintenance and improvement and 10000 steps for losing weight.
Keep on improvising on all the above-mentioned aspects connected with your morning walk and you'll soon observe wonders happening to your health and happiness.