When we are yet to get used to the habit of walking for health, experts say that we should wear shoes for walking. Shoes is an alien concept, in India were we don’t have the tradition of covering the feet completely. Our forefathers used to walk barefoot hundreds of mile for a livelihood ; I used to walk to college in stilettos. So one fine day when someone says that walking shoes are essential for walking, sound irrational! Read this post to know about the fitness regime of the elderly.
I always ignored the advice to wear shoes for walking. Once I brought a canvas shoes, within a few days gave it in charity. There is nothing more comfortable than the lightweight, rubber slippers in which the foot can move freely.
I stuck to my theory for over a decade, until I saw many elderly women wear sports shoes for walk. Whether in sarees or salwar/kameez most of the walkers now walk in sport shoes. Though not fully convinced that there will be any visible change, I decided to go with the trend – I brought an athletic shoe for walking.
My viewpoint has changed completely! My life has change for ever! There are atleast five benefits of walking in shoes. Some of the advantages of walking in shoes are as follows:
Increase in Speed
I used to cover 10 laps in an hour; wearing shoes I can cover 15 lapse. Which means 50% increase in performance.
Less pressure on feet
While walking in a slipper the toes have the additional job of holding the straps in place. This decreases the speed of walking.
Shoes are walking aides
Walking shoes are generally designed to be flexible to the ball of the foot; when you walk the weight of the body rolls from the heel, to the ball of foot and finally to the toes. A good walking shoe will help reduce the pressure borne by the foot.
Improves body posture
A good shoe helps create natural body posture. Buy shoes that are flexible in the toe so that you can bend and twist the toe part while walking.
Protects the feet
In the slippers the feet is covered with dust and they are prone to get injured. A shoe protects the feet from external damage.
Tips for buying a good pair of athletic shoe
Before buying the athletic shoe I surveyed the market by reading articles online, talking to friends and visiting athletic shoe showrooms. Some of the findings are as follows:
Running shoe is better than walking shoe for walking
The shoe should be lightweight and flexible.
There should be enough cushioning under the ball of the foot.
Ensure that the toes can move freely inside the shoe
Buy a shoe of good quality; use your instinct rather than the salesman’s opinion. Take a trial, of both the shoe, before buying.
I have a couple of lean, perfectly in-shape, friends who have a predominantly fatty food diet. The difference between the lean, heavy-eaters and the obese is that the former does all the physical work without applying any brain, while the latter tries to find short cut for all activities. Since the zebra crossing is faraway, I would risk the busy traffic to cross the road. But my lean friends follows the rule and goes all the way to the zebra crossing to cross the road. When I take the escalator to go to the metro train platform, my lean friend prefers to take the stairways. Such lean people burn so much of calories during their daily routine, that they do not need any form of physical exercise
During friendly chats, when I tell my friends about the refreshing morning walks, they complain that I was too mean to not call them for company. So one of them decided to come for the walk at 7:00 in the morning. However I was awaken by a mobile message at 3:00 AM; which read ‘I won’t come for walk, as I slept very late yesterday‘.
Another friend decided that her children also require some exercise, so she accompanied me on morning walks with two teenage son and a little daughter. While we walked, the kids played badminton in the park. As the children were playing, our concentration was on the security of the kids; so we walked less and watched the kids more. In order to cajole the children to come everyday for walks, we used to have a small party of cookies and hot coffee after the walk and game section.
Walking with friends strengthens friendship but fails to achieve the ultimate aim of achieving physical fitness. So on weekday I walk alone and on on the longer weekend walks friends are also invited.
Pollution in Delhi is not a new topic of discussion. According to World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer, air pollution is a major cause of cancer. Their studies show that pollution in Delhi has high level of life-threatening pollutants. More about lead pollution in Delhi in this post.
That Delhi is a highly polluted city, is well-known, you can know the difference by staying here for sometime. Due to pollution in Delhi people say their food intake is less than half of what they have in the village. Delhiites always say “Nothing is fresh here”. To gain something we should also lose something (Kuch Paane ke liye Kuch Khona Padta Ha). In the village you would not have the income to buy all the fresh things.
The cheapest and the simplest method to gain resistance from pollution in delhi is early morning walk and exercise in the park. Walks will prepare the body and mind to resist the pollutants inhaled during the rest of the day.
In the park there were a few volunteers of alternative medicines distributing flyers and telling walkers about how therapies can heal various diseases. The flyers contained names of diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, BP, Amnesia,……….. These diseases can be summed up under one name – lifestyle diseases. There is no need of medication, these diseases can disappear by adopting corrective measures in lifestyle. We cannot stop pollution in Delhi until the people and authorities work towards the common goal of making Delhi pollution free. Until the pollution in Delhi in eradicated we can remain well armed to fight the menace caused by pollution.
I find no school going kids in the park. Half of the walkers are the elderly; and the rest youth and the middle aged. People become conscious of their health after they develop some kind of diseases.
Many business that promise better health are mushrooming in and around the park. Yoga, pranic medicine, auyrveda, all claim that their treatments are good to gain resistance, and cure, from diseases. Tell the herbal juice wala what kind of disease you have and he makes the right concoction for you ‘a glass of juice for arthritis please’. As it was weekends there were also camps for free medical check up.
It will be a great blessing for the health of the city, if children put in the habit of running and exercising in parks. They will benefit in two ways. Firstly children, who are the largest victims of air pollution diseases like asthma, will gain resistant. Secondly, if children inculcate the habit of walking they will be conscious about their health for lifelong.
For the health of the City – Say ‘No’ to pollution in delhi ! Say ‘Yes’ to walking and exercise!
Today I read an article in a Newspaper that the memory power of those who walk in park is 20% more than of those who walk on street lanes. Naturally, while walking in a green surrounding there is more intake of oxygen and that makes the brain-cells work better. Maybe this is the scientific explanation for the inspiration that writers get when they are in the midst of nature. Remember the famous poem of Robert Frost “Stopping by the woods” penned down after he travelled through the woods on a cold winter night. Read this post to know the advantage of using walking shoes.
I observed that most of the people who walked in the park did not have athletic figure, they were walking more for their mental than physical fitness. Nowadays you need to be young, physically and mentally, to remain fit in the job market. There is one fellow, whose self-styled exercise routine has made him the butt of joke in the park. He runs fast and when he finds some other jogger in front of him, he will reduce the speed with a loud noise, as if applying sudden break in a car. He faces to the west and claps so loudly that the sound vibrates through the entire premise of the park. He ends his exercise routine by standing straight, looking up at the sky, as if to roar like a lion, and then he laughs at the top of his voice. He is a successful entrepreneur, and I am sure he follows the ‘I don’t care what others think’ attitude even in his office.(The secret of all successful people is their confidence to act differently in order to attain their goals).
My boss, in her seventies, is another example of how fitness is important to remain mentally fit. She does yoga and walks everyday in the morning. She drinks one glass of green juice, and another of fruit, before leaving for office. Ask her about the content of any magazine she published 20 years back and she promptly gives details about its date of publishing, the cover picture and so on.
In this age when Dementia and amnesia are becoming common, the time is never late to begin exercising and walking in the parks. An hour of activity in the park everyday will keep one fit, mentally and physically always.
The first golden rule to maintain a healthy lifestyle – Brisk walk everyday. I have read many articles about the benefits of brisk walking, but I still don’t know how fast I should walk. Since articles were of no use I decided to follow the footsteps of the fittest person in the park. I discovered that, if the articles were confusing, the ingenious walking techniques of the walkers were even more confusing. Read this post to know about the walking habits of four generations of a family.
I located the leanest walker, since I wanted to be that thin, and observed how she walks. There was nothing artistic about her style. She kept on walking, non stop, around the park for hours, with an earphone fixed in her ears. There were youngsters who ran at full speed – I decided not to follow them. Then came a healthy girl in the opposite direction, she was taking long, hefty strides and swinging her hands to and fro, violently, as if she was going to beat someone. There were some who did combo-exercises. They stretched hand and legs; and swung them round and round while walking. Others just jogged.
While most walked alone, some were in groups. They walk to rejuvenate, so that they can start their day on a fresh note. While they walk, they occupy the whole space, disturbing the pace of the serious walkers. There was also a group of elderly aunts, who wore sports shoe with their traditional dress, walking religiously in the morning and evening. These beautiful women in their seventies are so fit and healthy that any youngster would want to make them their fitness icon. (I know them personally, the secret of their fitness, and beauty, is also because of their harmonious family life.)
After observing the walkers in the parks, and discussing with regular walkers, I concluded that how you walk or how fast you walk is not important. What is more important is to walk regularly without fail.
Going to park in the morning is the most refreshing way to start a day. Parks are so common that every place in Delhi is within walking distance of one or two parks. There are parks in my colony, however I like to go the District Park which is situated in acres of land and the whole place is buzzing, in the morning, with fitness activities. Read this to know about an 83 year old international woman athlete.
Most of the early morning park goers are the elderly who can give tough competition to youngster with their innovative fitness techniques. In the ‘laughing clubs’ who stand in a circle and laugh their lungs out on some artificially created jokes. Some of them sit on the bench and sing spiritual songs or poems. Sometimes they decide the future of the government by just sitting on the bench – without jumping on their feet or running to the well of the house. Their spirits defy their age and they come up with new projects for the development of the colony.
As they have lot of time and they are keen to stay fit, they opt for traditional fitness lifestyle. So they use dantoon (neem twig) to brush teeth and have green herbal juice consisting of bitter herbs like alovera, gooseberry, bitter gourd, china grass,……etc.(tips: any herb or vegetable that in green and bitter can be included). The fitness-freak-elderly enthusiasm led to three make-shift herbal juice shops being erected inside the park, that make sweet money in return of serving the fitness-freaks bitter juice.
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