Is walking a ‘complete sport’? This is what the experts say

A fitness routine for many people is about walking a few steps or distance in a day. Many experts even recommend walking as a great way to maintain health, calories, and weight. However, according to Dr Manjunath Sukumaran, holistic wellness coach, lead facilitator, and founder of Harmony Wellness Concepts, this “is not a full-fledged exercise or exercise by itself”.

For some time now, Dr Sukumaran has been advocating switching to an effective three-component exercise regimen to relieve lifestyle ailments such as blood pressure, diabetes or weight gain through his Facebook videos. According to him, if “there are no serious restrictions”, one should look at other forms of cardio activity than walking that are “not a whole, complete workout”.

“One should do at least 30 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) which should start with floor training and certain body weight training. This means that a good exercise routine has three main components – resistance training, resistance training, and flexibility. And walking fails in all three aspects,” he said


Why run at all?

Walking for more than 25 to 30 minutes per day is an effective way to improve heart health and lung capacity, says nutritionist Karishma Chawla.

Moderate exercise, such as walking, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. This helps you breathe easier and stay healthy longer especially considering the fact that most cardiovascular-related lifestyle disorders can lower life expectancy. Simply walking daily can improve the management of lifestyle conditions such as hypertension, joint and muscle pain/stiffness. “It also helps keep your cholesterol under control. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the world is increasing. Walking every day can help control blood sugar, “he explained.

While walking is a great physical activity, Chawla also shows how important it is to challenge yourself in terms of increasing your stride and speed to achieve the optimal benefits of this cardio activity.

“Optimal cardio activity helps in cardiovascular exercise, balances blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, reduces anxiety due to the release of endorphins, helps blood circulation, improves lung health, balances blood sugar levels, which helps lower body fat percentage. keep the metabolism high,” adds the lifestyle educator.

Although it has many benefits, why is walking not considered a good exercise?

walk Experts point out “it’s important to challenge yourself in terms of increasing stride and speed to achieve optimal benefits from this cardio activity”. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Dr Sukumaran points out how walking has “many health benefits, especially for the uninitiated as something is better than nothing”. But according to him, what he doesn’t realize is that daily walking causes a person to lose the muscle mass seen in aging skin, and energy levels over the years. “But when walking is supplemented by specific training, it helps build muscle mass, increase blood sugar levels, keep energy down, and delay the aging process,” he says.

Agrees Dr Samudrika Patil, clinical endocrinologist and CEO of Vedicure Healthcare and Wellness. He says one can get “more effective results in terms of losing fat and increasing muscle mass” with resistance training.

Brisk walking, jogging, climbing stairs or cycling – any activity that raises your heart rate is categorized as resistance training.

“To start with, you can start with bodyweight exercises that should include a schedule to target all muscle groups. Resistance bands have recently been used for home workouts mainly due to gym closures during lockdown. You can play with your resistance band by adding variety to your daily workout. Similarly, for flexibility, Zumba or aerobics are good exercises. Plus, yoga has always been a way to stay flexible, strong and take care of your mental health,” says Dr Patil.

According to Chawla, resistance training activities that help increase cardio speed such as jogging, swimming, squash and dancing have many health benefits including improving heart health, lung health, aiding blood circulation, lowering anxiety, increasing metabolism, improving focus, and insulin. sensitivity.

Is relying on walking in vain?

While experts mention how “no physical activity goes to waste”, and “walking is definitely a good way to start”, it needs to be alternated with cardio activity for “holistic gains”.

“I consider walking part of a fitness circle that also includes strength training (weight/weight training), yoga, meditation and flexibility stretching. Brisk walking, jogging, dancing/Zumba, swimming are all considered as cardio activities that help keep the body in shape,” says Chawla.

Dr Patil also mentions how walking can be accompanied by intermittent jogging or skip. “Make sure you do a morning jog to soak in the sun and burn off a few calories. Take the stairs alternately every day. If it’s boring, take your dog for a walk!” Dr Patil revealed.

How important is it to exercise?

Considering the growing awareness of fitness, all experts agree that “regular exercise is not as negotiable as taking a bath”. “The more you move, the better your fitness level will be. Studies show that the endurance capacity of adults aged 65 years is similar to that of adolescents aged 17 years. What we need to do is use it well. Regular self-indulgence will help raise awareness and help heal the mind, body and spirit!” Chawla said.

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