HEALTH EFFECTS OF WORKOUTS

DR. S.M. ALAM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Jan 3 - 9, 2011

Walking and physical activity are good exercises for pleasure, weight loss and psychological well-being. In days gone past people had to walk everywhere, but with the advent of the car people seem to walk less and drive more. Even when the store is only a few blocks, they would prefer to drive. Therefore, people are not losing weight as easily as they once did.

Walking helps our cardiovascular system by getting our heart rate up. The faster our blood pumps in our body the more adapted it will become to physical exertion and the higher the levels of fitness one can achieve. The more we work out the more blood our heart is able to pump and the healthier we feel. Walking also has the added benefit of being an exercise that is sufficient for any fitness level. If we are older then we can walk at a slow pace; if we are in good physical condition we can turn our walk into as fast as we want. The choice is purely ours and we can do what feels right to us. The other benefit of walking is that it is easy to adjust our walking habits to get the maximum benefit. Towards the end of our good walk we may need to push our fitness level a little higher and we have the ability to adjust our speed quickly and without strain.

Nature, fresh air, and being outside are good for our psychological health. We sometimes need to be outdoors to relax from a stressful day. Watching nature, getting exercise, and being out in the sun often help us forget about the day's stress. We will feel relaxed and in comfort after a good walk. We may also find that after a heavy dinner a good walk will help with digestion and loosen up that heavy feeling. The added benefit is that our metabolism kicks in and we are able to burn off the food a little faster. We would not feel as tired after dinner if you go for a walk and get our blood moving. One should also consider the social aspects of walking. We can walk with our spouse, wife, and kids.

Many people in Japan practice walking or running backward. In that way, it burns several times more calories than traditional way of jogging exercise. Aside from this advantage, our balance increases, meaning vision and hearing powers increase, too. It is because you do not have eyes behind us, so the senses pick up the need. Backward walking is practiced since long time ago especially among elderly people as a part of daily exercise to be mentally and physically fit.

It's a reasonable and a good way to incorporate another means of exercise to lessen the stress on any part of the body. This kind of backward movement especially running strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles, and joints. It's good for the hips, legs, and trunk. When we go backwards, our stomach will work out like our back and creates a nice reaction for abdominals. Also, 100 steps backward walking is equivalent to 1,000 steps conventional walking. Doctors recommend us to walk or do jogging everyday as a part of exercise. But it is too time-consuming for busy businesspeople. 1,000 steps walking take a half day work. Many have no such precious time to waste just for walking especially in the morning. It is also hard to continue everyday.

For backward walking, an important point is not to bend the knee, but it is recommended to try to keep our feet straight position. Backward walking does not require long distance, which means we can do it anywhere, at our backyard or at the top of our office building during snack time.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is characterized by deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the inner lining of arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. It also contributes to other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, a low level of HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes. Even moderately intense physical activity such as brisk walking is beneficial when done regularly for a total of 30 minutes or longer on most or all days.

Regular aerobic physical activity increases your fitness level and capacity for exercise. It also plays a role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is linked to cardiovascular mortality. Regular physical activity can help control blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes and obesity. Aerobic physical activity can also help reduce blood pressure. The results of pooled studies show that people who modify their behavior and start regular physical activity after heart attack have better rates of survival and better quality of life. Healthy people as well as many patients with cardiovascular disease can improve their fitness and exercise performance with training. Some activities improve flexibility, some build muscular strength and some increase endurance. Some forms of continuous activities involve using the large muscles in your arms or legs. These are called endurance or aerobic exercises. They help the heart by making it work more efficiently during exercise and at rest. Brisk walking, jumping rope, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing and dancing are examples of aerobic activities that increase endurance. These activities are especially beneficial when done regularly: Brisk walking, hiking, stair-climbing, aerobic exercise, jogging, running, bicycling, rowing, and swimming, activities such as soccer and basketball that include continuous running.

Even moderate-intensity activities, when performed daily, can have some long-term health benefits. They help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Here are some examples: Walking for pleasure, gardening and yard work, housework, dancing and prescribed home exercise, recreational activities such as tennis, racquetball, soccer, basketball, and touch football

Regular physical activity can also help reduce or eliminate some of these risk factors: High blood pressure - Regular aerobic activities can lower blood pressure. Cigarette smoking - Smokers who become physically active are more likely to cut down or stop smoking. Diabetes - People at their ideal weight are less likely to develop diabetes. Physical activity may also decrease insulin requirements for people with diabetes. Obesity and overweight - Regular physical activity can help people lose excess fat or stay at a reasonable weight. High levels of triglycerides - Physical activity helps reduce triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are linked to developing coronary artery disease in some people. Low levels of HDL - Low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men/less than 50 mg/dL for women) have been linked to a higher risk of coronary artery disease. Recent studies show that regular physical activity can significantly increase HDL cholesterol levels and thus reduce your risk. Physical activity builds healthy bones, muscles and joints, and reduces the risk of colon cancer. Millions of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity. Physical activity also helps psychologically. It reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, improves mood and promotes a sense of well-being.

Doing 'Ablution-Wadu' and offering five times regular 'Prayers' are also good exercises. If anyone who has developed etiquettes by reading the Holy Quran then he will be in good health. The seven times 'circumambulation-Tawaf' of Kabba (the House of Allah) at Makkah Sharif and the seven times, rite of 'Sa'y-Moving' between Safa and Marwa hillocks inside Al-Masjid-Al-Haram at Makkah are also to energize the body by the order of Allah.