I wish to present you the following ‘no-cost’ and ‘low-cost’ mutually-beneficial exercises for your body.
A: Walking Around
Physical activity does not need to get so complicated as some people erroneously perceive it to be. For instance, something as simple as a daily brisk, but purposeful walk can help you live a healthier life. Indeed, regular brisk walking around your compound or on along a little alley (without heavy vehicular traffic), for about five – ten minutes daily is one of the simplest, non-costly, yet highly beneficial exercises for your body. For example, taking brisk walks around can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
- Strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Improve your mood.
- Improve your balance and coordination.
In a wider perspective, walking offers many benefits, especially for people with arthritis. It’s free. It is easy to do, and is very good for the joints. There is therefore, no question that walking is good for you.
According to experts from Mayoclinic, walking is an aerobic exercise: a University of Tennessee study found that women who walked had less body fat than those who didn’t walk. It also lowers the risk of blood clots, since the calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart. There are a dozen reasons why walking is good for you in other ways as well, e.g.:–
- Walking improves circulation. It also wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Tennessee found that post-menopausal women who walked just one to two miles a day lowered blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent – by 40 percent when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
- Walking shores up your bones. It can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A. Schwartz, MD, of Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in New York. In fact, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.
- Walking leads to a longer life. Research out of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Veterans Administration Ann Arbor Healthcare System says those who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35 percent less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. That number shoots up to 45 percent less likely for those who have underlying health conditions.
- Walking lightens mood. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were. Why? Walking releases natural painkilling endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise.
- Walking can lead to weight loss. A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories. Over time, calories burned can lead to pounds dropped.
- Walking improves sleep. A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
- Walking supports your joints. The majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply. It gets its nutrition from synovial or joint fluid that circulates as we move. Impact that comes from movement or compression, such as walking, “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area. If you don’t walk, joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which can speed deterioration.
- Walking improves your breath. When walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal.
- Walking slows mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to a 25-percent decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.
- Walking lowers Alzheimer’s risk. A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who walked less.
- Walking helps you do more, longer. Aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living of people who are older than 65 and have symptomatic OA, shows a study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management.
pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints and muscles – which are meant to handle weight – helping to lessen arthritis pain
This is another ‘no-cost’ exercise. You can do it within your bedroom, living room, backyard or compound for a couple of minutes everyday – preferably every morning as soon as you wake up from bed. Sometimes, our muscles are not in the best condition; while the quality of our tissues is also very important. As such, stretching, when applied correctly, can improve that quality. In general, there are two major types of stretching – dynamic and static stretching; and you can view each of these from the picture above.
Dynamic stretching involves putting muscles through their full range of motion by way of mobilizing the joints to which the muscles attach. Good examples of the movements would be leg swings, arm circles cradle walks, spiderman walks, and karaoke. The benefits of doing dynamic stretching are many. Our goal is to make our nervous system get to a point that it is fired up, and ready to move some heavy weights. We don’t want to take it the other way and subdue it when there is work to be done. Dynamic stretching will elevate the muscles’ temperature, and ramp the nervous system up so the body’s right state where it needs to be, when your first set begins.
Static Stretching: Mid and Post-Workout
The typical “stretch–and–hold” method is simply known as static stretching. Since static stretching can act to dull the nervous system, we can use that to our advantage during our workouts. If we notice that a muscle is getting too involved in an exercise when it’s not welcome, we can strategically static-stretch such muscle to lower their nervous involvement and give more of the work to the wanted muscles. This can be applied in other cases, like when the chest gets too involved in back exercises, or when the hips take away from glute involvement. Of course, when the nervous system’s stimulation is no longer a factor, a good static stretch to all major muscle groups at the end of a workout is in perfect order. Apply these tips and stay mobile and injury free through your stretching exercises.
Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities or decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work most effectively.
Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. And you may come to enjoy the ritual of stretching before or after hitting the trail, ballet floor or soccer field.
Meanwhile, people living a sedentary type of lifestyle can easily get diseased more often than those who simply stretch out their muscles everyday. Therefore, please, keep on stretching yourself to attain great health.