Monday, February 15, 2016

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you are better off walking to the market to buy it. Doctors now say walking half an hour daily can lower the risk of heart attack, besides helping reduce levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar.

"We recommend walking daily to all patients. It is a costless prescription and the most effective one to deal with non-communicable diseases, from the point of both prevention and healing," said Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, at Max Hospital, Saket.

He added that walking is even more important for urban Indians who spend most of their time sitting in office or at home. "The level of physical activity among all age groups, from school children to the elderly, has gone down significantly, either out of choice or compulsions such as lack of open space," said Dr K K Aggarwal, WALK FOR national general secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA).

In countries like the US, community walks have caught on as a popular and effective way to break the couch habit. American Heart Association (AHA) has also framed guidelines on the best ways to walk, prevent injuries related to walking, and choosing between walking and running for better health.

For adults, AHA recommends 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, in a week. Brisk walking qualifies as moderate activity while HEALTH jogging is considered vigorous. For lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, it recommends aiming for "40-minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity three to four times a week".

Experts say people starting exercising after a long time should begin with short distances and increase the time and distance gradually. How you walk is also important. To avoid injury, do not droop your head, keep the tummy tucked in and shoulders relaxed.