Put your walking shoes on for regular pacing sessions to keep lifestyle diseases at bay
There is hardly any need to explain the several benefits of walking. Everyone knows its advantages for humankind and the environment, and yet, walking has become the least common mode of commuting these days.
According to the medical fraternity, this is exactly where we are going wrong. In our fast-paced lives we tend to take important things like health for granted. While we hate the deadlines and the pressures, we cannot avoid it and the stress gets the better of us in the form of the various chronic lifestyle diseases.
With long, irregular work hours and high calorie intake, the heart starts getting affected. Approximately 110 million people are believed to be suffering from lifestyle-related illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases and cancer in India. This figure is estimated to double in the next 15-20 years. Taking out time to walk for 30 minutes everyday or making it a habit to walk to places as opposed to taking cars can be the best way to beat these diseases, prevent obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle, say health experts.
According to Dr. Rajeev Virmani, head of Relationship Doctors, Max Bupa, “Fifty per cent of the people with symptoms of diabetes are not even aware that they have a serious health problem. In cases of people with coronary problems, it is even more startling that a majority of them are either not aware of it or simply continue to live in denial of the severity of their condition.
So what can we do to make our lives better? Walking is the simplest and most inclusive form of physical activity. Just 15 minutes of brisk walking a day can have significant health benefits, even adding up to three years to our life expectancy. Studies have shown that walking 30 minutes a day can actually reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes by 58 per cent.” To showcase the benefits of walking, the company is part of a campaign for people to pledge to walk. Walkathons, in fact have become a routine activity with several organisations sponsoring and participating in “Walk for Fitness’ events.
According to the Bupa Pulse Report 2012, a significant number of people admit that they still use their cars for journeys which are short enough to walk. The report also points out that pollution can be particularly harmful to the health of children and the elderly; a strong relationship has been shown between levels of airborne particles, sulphur dioxide and other fossil-fuel emissions and the risk of early death from heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as allergies, asthma and lung cancer.
Adopting walking as a permanent habit can be a solution. If we swapped one car journey a week to walking, traffic levels would reduce by at least 10 per cent.
“Walking has multifarious advantages, especially if we look at substituting it for short distance commuting in a place like Delhi where vehicular pollution is a great concern. If you walk, it not only adds to your well being and health but also contributes to reducing CO2 emission significantly. So everyone should walk for their health and also for the planet’s health,” says Ajit Kumar, president of The Oceanic Group, a non-profit society focusing on sustainable development.
Another problem that has its solution in walking is parking. With at least 1,200 new vehicles being added to the city’s vehicular population every day, parking has become a constant issue.
According to a study, the demand for parking in Delhi’s central business district (CBD) is more than twice the supply and the situation is only growing worse. Shantanu Dubey, resident of South Delhi colony says, “The festive seasons call for major traffic congestions across the city’s shopping joints, particularly for residents living near the shopping complexes. If we pledge towards walking small distances during this festive season, it would ease life for many residents and make shopping also more pleasurable.”