Health Benefits of Walking

Health Benefits of Walking

Health Benefits of Walking

In this post I will talk about the health benefits of walking.

There are numerous physical activities that one can undertake for better health, but among them regular walking is the most effective and the easiest. In my previous article, I had talked about why you should walk and had discussed the different benefits of walking in terms of health, mental, social, environmental and financial factors.

In this post I will focus specifically on the health benefits of regular brisk walking.

Regular means everyday, without fail.

Physical fitness experts and doctors generally recommend at least 30 minutes of brisk walk per day or 150 minutes per week. Again there are many health advocacy groups who have recommend a daily 10,000 steps walking goal.

Whatever be the quantum, the keyword is daily. Walking for 5 days for 1 hour and then a 5 day break will definitely not be as effective as 30 minutes of daily walk for 10 days.

10 Health Benefits of Walking

  1. Regular Walking reduces bad cholesterol and increases the levels of good cholesterol. Studies have shown that regular walking leads to lower risk of heart diseases and stroke and increased heart and lung fitness. One study has show that women who walked at a brisk pace had a lower chance of having a stroke than those who didn’t walk. Source.
  2. Daily Walking helps to improve blood pressure. One can walk continuously for 30 minutes or engage in short bouts totaling 30 minutes. A study has shown that both are equally effective in reducing systolic blood pressure.
  3. Daily Walking helps to improve blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that daily walking reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. Walking helps to maintain body weight. Studies have shown that walking just after a meal is more effective for weight loss than waiting 1 hour after eating before walking.
  5. You can reduce your risk of obesity if you walk regularly. While walking will not help one to shed a lot of weight or develop six pack abs, studies have shown that regular walking helps people lose some body fat.
  6. Walking daily strengthens bones and joints and prevents the onset of diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. This also leads to improved balance. One study has shown that even in older adults with osteoarthritis, walking along with weight lifting helps to improve balance.
  7. Walking outside in daylight provides Vitamin D to your body. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones by facilitating the absorption of calcium. Source.
  8. Walking can help strengthen legs and arm muscles and this has a direct impact of all associated muscles and joints like thighs, calves, hamstrings, shoulders and so on. This will significantly reduce joint and muscular stiffness and pain.
  9. Studies have shown that daily walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Here are two studies. Results of this study supports an inverse association between physical activity and postmenopausal breast cancer. This study indicates that brisk walking after diagnosis may inhibit or delay prostate cancer progression among men diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer.
  10. Finally you should walk regularly if you want to live longer. As per a study, adding 150 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine can increase your life span by up to 3 years.

That’s it for today. Hope you found this write-up on health benefits of walking useful and informative.

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References and Further Reading

Thank you for reading Health Benefits of Walking. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

Why You Should Walk

Why you should walk

I am a big fan of walking and in this post I’ll give you many reasons on why you should walk.

Walking is perhaps the easiest fitness technique that Nature has naturally equipped us with. Walking does not require any special athletic talent or fancy equipment’s.

Walking is especially important for people like us who work in human capital intensive jobs like software or banking, where we spend a major part of our day sitting and essentially leading a sedentary life.

My relationship with walking has been kind of on and off. I realized long time back that I am not a gym guy. Staring at a mirror while pumping my biceps was not my scene. Freehand exercises and cardio were better options, but I could never get myself to continue it for longer periods.

So I stuck to the best thing I knew. Walking.

A year and a half back I came across an app called endomondo, which has really helped me to stay focused on my walking schedule. See my performance report for last 3 days. I have been clocking around 2kms per day on an average.

Why you should walk Endomondo workout

In the paragraphs below, I’ll talk about some of the main reasons why you should walk.

#1 Why you should walk – Health Benefits

Walking has a lot of very well documented health benefits. Evolution has over the ages designed our bodies in such a way that the human legs are optimized for walking and not for sitting for long stretches of time.

  • Walking helps in managing weight.
  • Walking is good for blood sugar.
  • You should walk to reduce chronic back pain.
  • Walking is good for heart. It positively impacts blood pressure and general all round fitness.
  • You should walk regularly if you want to keep bone related diseases like osteoporosis at bay. Source.
  • You should walk more if you want to live longer.

#2 Why you should walk – Mental Benefits

  • Walking is good for the brain as it reduces mental fatigue.
  • Walking helps to improve memory.
  • Walking helps in increasing creativity.
  • Walking helps to uplift your mood and reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Walking may even help in treating depression.

#3 Why you should walk – Social Benefits

  • If you feel fitter and healthier, your confidence level increases.
  • Walking in a group can help one socialize and stay focused and motivated. This impacts all aspects of your life.
  • Walking will help to know your neighbors and your neighborhood in general.
  • Walking will allow you to meet new people.
  • You should definitely walk if you like to explore new places.

#4 Why you should walk – Environmental Benefits

  • Unlike in a gym, you don’t need to burn petrol to drive to the gym or electricity to operate gym equipment’s.
  • When you walk, you don’t drive or use a gas-guzzling vehicle. You are automatically saving the environment.

#5 Why you should walk – Financial Benefits

  • Walking is free.
  • Your medical bills come down because of reduced health risks.
  • You feel happier, relaxed and become more creative, which helps you become more productive and earn more money.

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed it. If you can think of any additional benefits of walking please share them via your comments.

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Thank you for reading “Why you should walk”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

7 Tips for Eating Your Bread in India

There are various ways one can enjoy bread.

But one thing I have noticed among Indians is that they generally do not prefer bread for breakfast.

To them bread is generaly associated with sickness – when one is sick one has bread. And if your mum or wife really loved you, she would make you parathas or idly or roti and not give you bread.

I on the other hand, am a voracious bread eater. I have toasted bread and assorted spreads in the morning, and if given a chance I’ll have bread for all my meals.

That being said, let me present you some options which will make bread taste really nice.

  1. Always have toasted or grilled bread even if it sandwhich that you are  having. Untoasted bread only makes sense if you buy really good quality  (expensive) loaves from good bakeries (costing Rs 100/- and above)
  2.  Add butter immediately after the toasting is done. This causes the  butter to melt and gives the bread an awesome taste. I have add  different kinds of butter, salted, non-salted, low-fat etc – but nothing
    beats Amul Butter.
  3.  If you don’t like butter, you can use jams/ marmalede. Two of my personal favorites are 24 Mantra Organic Mixed Fruit Jam and Hero Blackcherry Jam and I frequently use them together on each half of the toast.
  4.  Peanut butter is another great option. In fact I sometimes just have peanut butter (like Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black). My preference is American Garden Peanut Butter.
  5.  Can anything beat a choco spread? Apply a thick layer to your bread and enjoy. I quite like Pillsbury Choco Spread, because of its liquid texture and its Cadbury like taste.
  6. Don’t every put ghee (clarified butter) to bread. Ghee goes with almost every thing except bread (and wine, scotch, pasta, chips and most other things)
  7. Always have your bread fresh and as soon as possible and defnitely before expiry date (applies to all food items).

Do let me know if you have any tips.

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Seven Steps to Prevent Stomach Bloating

What is Bloating?

The technical term is abdominal bloating and it affects around 20% of all adults. When this happens you feel gassy, belch a lot and seem to suddenly have gained 2-3 kgs.

Your stomach seems to visibly swell, your trousers don’t seem to fit and you feel uneasy the entire day. Soemtimes it leads to headaches and slight nausea. You cannot focus on work and your productivity goes down.

5 most Common Causes of Bloating

The 5 most comon causes of bloating are Indigestion, Gas and Flatulence, Lactose Intolerance, gallstones, H Pylori infection. Over time however, I have discovered that with proper preventive care, one can easily control normal stomach bloating. 
Note: If bloating persists, please contact your physician. Contact him/her in any case.
Below is what I normally do. Whenever I deviate from this routine, I usually end up with the uneasy feeling.

7 Steps to Prevent Bloating

  1. Get up every morning at the same time, preferrably early, say 6:30 or 7:00 AM. Do not change your routine on Saturdays and Sundays or holidays, or even if you slept late the previous night. 
  2. Have one or two glasses of water, freshen up, start getting ready for the day and (try to) do your morning deed. Don’t worry if nothing happens – drink tea and stuff – you should slowly force yourself into a routine.
  3. Immediately after that go for a brisk walk or jogging of 10-15 mins.
  4. Have a hearty breakfast with light food like oats, porridge, toasted bread, some sprouts etc
  5. Have lunch at the same time every day without fail whatever be the circumstances. If you have meeting invites, reschedule them or better still decline them.
  6. Go for a brisk walk again in the late afternoon or evening at the same time everday. Also do some free hand exerices if possible at this time (just stretch you hands while walking)
  7. Have an early dinner. Avoid oily or spicy food for dinner. Go for a long leisurely stroll after that.

Do not forget to keep on drinking plenty of fluids/ water throughout the day at regular intervals. Even if you are not thirsty, make it a point to replenish your internal fluid supply.

Do share if you have some suggestions on how to control tummy bloating.

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A Quick Two Step Detox Process – Pranayama and Green Tea

Festival season just got over. But your body is still not over the spicy and oily (although tasty) food. Or too much pressure at work is making you resort to a lot of coffee and quick snacks. And maybe perhaps a lot of alcoholic drinks. 
Toxins have built up in your body and a lot of gunk would have built up in your lungs if you smoke. If not dealt with immediately, they will have a bad impact on your health and well-being.

So how does one detox quickly? How can one quickly get rid of impurities? The best solution would obviously be to stop smoking, avoid drinking alcohol, and to avoid oily and spicy foods. But the deed has been done, so to speak.

To counter that we can follow a quick two step process.

1. Do breathing exercise or Pranayama

In Indian tradition, pranayama is an extension of the life force by various breating exercises. It calms the mind, relaxes the lung and allows oxygen to flow through our body.

– The simplest way is to sit in a relaxed posture, close your eyes and breathe in and breathe out very slowly. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes. You will feel the difference.
– An advanced option is to breathe in slowly through one nostril and breathe out through the other, and then reverse the same

This will help calm the mind as well as rejuvenate the heart and lungs.

2. Have Green Tea

Some of the benfits of green tea are:
– Anti-oxidants help reduce fat through increased metabolic rate
– Better immunity to cold and coughs

Some people don’t like the taste of green tea – neither did I when I started. I experimented with long leaf,  ginger mint and lemon, lemon and honey, aloevera, lemon grass, moroccan mint before finally settling for Golden Tips Green Tea
, which I have with a pinch of honey.

Have some 2-3 cups during the day.

Pranayama and Gree Tea should hopefully get one going for the day.

Also read this interesting article on the benfits of green tea (10 benefits).

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Three Ways to Go Green on Environment Day 2015

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on 5 June to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet Earth.

For people like us who promote simple and frugal living in harmony with nature, the 2015 theme for WED “Sustainable consumption and production” is very relevant.

So what are the 3 things that we can do as ordinary people to go green in the most economical and effective way?

1. Energy Efficiency / Green Energy

  • Switch off light/ fan / computer monitors when not in use
  • Use energy effcient lighting like LED Bulbs 
  • Use Fans instead of Air-Conditioning if possible
  • Try to use Public transport or car-pooling as much as possible
  • Cycle to work. Read how 500+ corporate professionals are cycling to office in Mumbai.
  • Start using solar/ wind enabled devices 
  • Use green design principles in your home. As an aisde, I am proud to be a student of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai which is Indian sub-continents’s first LEED Platinum certified educational institution and one of the most eco-friendly institutes in this region.

2. Sustainable and Healthy Living

  • Exercise daily and drink plenty of water throughout the day instead of resorting to soft drinks
  • Teach your children the importance of sustainability and going green. Indian school students have been asked to a pledge to protect the environment and live in harmony with nature
  • Try to eat wholesome nutritious and organic food as much as possible, and less of fries and oily stuffs
  • If you have open spaces at home, turn it green by growing your own food
  • You could take up gardening and decorate your house with plants and flowers

Read More
Wikihow – 3 Ways to Create a Vegetable Garden

Amazon – Setting up a home kitchen garden

3. Switch to Organic Food

Organic foods are those which are produced by practices that “foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity” and strictly avoid synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

To know more about organic food read
1. wikipedia on organic food
2. HelpGuide – Are Organic Foods right for You
3. In one of my earlier posts, I have talked about Organic Pulses versus Regular Pulses

If you have any more ideas, please feel free to share them.


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