Trek to good health

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GO TREKKING It not only helps lose calories but also improves overall health
GO TREKKING It not only helps lose calories but also improves overall health

Snow-capped mountains can help relax your stressed out muscles

"I'm going to the Himalayas," someone should say and see the varied reactions. Sometimes there is shock, and sometimes, surprise. But why people fail to see the snow-capped mountains as a place to relax their stressed out muscles, to breathe the wispy cold air or just as a place to trek, is puzzling. "Health is the natural state of human beings. Disease is the distorted state of health. Urban lifestyles tend to distort that natural state and it is important to go up the mountains like the Himalayas to rediscover one's original state of health," says Swami Akshara, founder, Akshara Foundations. He has trekked in the Himalayas and the mountains in Japan and taken Foundation volunteers to Gomukh, the origin of the Ganges, 18 km on foot from Gangotri. "Trekking in the Himalayas is like reaching the source of one's being and personality from where health and disease manifest themselves at various times," he says.

Not many takers

Joseph Mathew has been trekking for the past 17 years. He says 80 per cent of the trekkers in India are `unfortunately' foreigners. "Indians don't seem to evince much interest in outdoor activities or in being amidst nature." While they would prefer to sit in front of the television and watch a cricket match for five days, they would not even think about going out for a walk, he laments. Trekking should be introduced to children in schools and colleges as is being done abroad, he says. Sharing this view is Suganya Velauthem, a speech language pathologist. "Trekking has both mental and physical benefits," she says. Primarily, it helps one achieve a calm state of mind. It also enables one to lose calories, build up stamina and overall health. "Trekking should be undertaken in a relaxed state of mind, rather than in a rush," says Suganya. Her school takes students on treks to the numerous mountainous places nearby. Walking can undoubtedly be conferred the title `The king of fitness schedules.' Fitness experts and doctors recommend walking for several medical conditions. A step above walking comes trekking up mountain slopes. A recent visit to the Himalayas and trekking on the tar, cemented, stone-paved and muddy tracks at Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Haridwar, with an earlier experience of trekking up the Gomukh glacier from Gangotri, gave trekkers from Chennai and many parts of the country a taste of the multiple-health benefits of trekking in the mountains. Studies show trekking improves basic metabolic rate, controls obesity, prevents heart disease and improves breath synchrony. Walking is the simplest form of exercise that helps control hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis. It primarily energises the body and mind, bestowing a feeling of wellness throughout the day. SWAHILYA




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