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Monday, November 25, 2019

Why take a walk? - ITREALMS

When children are born, they crawl before walking. Walking is seen as the ability to stand by oneself and move around.

In the villages, we walk several miles or better still trek very often until recent times when roads became motorable and mobility of all kinds began to surface; including motorbikes, motor vehicles, tricycles of today, to name but a few.

With all these means of mobility available to us, there is need to exercise caution before we become slaves to our properties including the means of moving about with cars.

There is obvious temptation for those who are blessed to own a car to even assume the status of ‘no more trekking’ and this is even worse when relatives and friends unconsciously encourage this by asking about their mobility or mobilities for those with more than one, rathr than asking about their health or wellbeing. It is even alarming that once friends see you, they ask about your means of mobility first before anything else including before asking after your health, which should be uppermost as human beings.

In the olden days, you may greet someone but if you did you ask after his health and family, definitely you are not a friend; these were seen as mark of priority concern for an average well-meaning individual before now.

Okey is a self-employ Lagosian, who has had a cause to trek on the days he had to work strictly at the office and have no reason whatsoever to bring his car to the office which is less than 400 metres. And because most of his daily job activities entails sitting down, he developed an instinct to walk to work, when there is no field work attached.

But to his utmost surprise on the second day, a customer while greeting him, first asked what happened? Initially he did not get the gist until the customer repeated himself with emphasis on the car because as he puts it, “I saw you yesterday trek pass my office?”

On getting the gist eventually, Okey had retorted that, there is nothing wrong, he merely wanted to take a walk. And he said “ok, I for say.” Although, he did not wait for further discuss or what the man would have loved to say, but maintained that “Everything is ok, I just wanted to walk to the office” and continued with his walk towards home.

A few days later, he had to bring the children to school via motorbike popularly known as ‘Okada’ because it was his turn for school-run and he had a meeting in the next hour and would not want to be on ‘school-run’ traffic, which has become a part of Lagos traffic menace.

Surprisingly on getting to the school gate, he was accosted by one of the friendly teachers with question, “what happened?” probably seeing him on a bike and he answered “nothing, just running late.” He probably got the gist quicker this time around.

A colleague once complained that nowadays, “you no longer drive around, what happened to your car?” simply because he will love to join you in the car. For this friend, when anyone like Okey, who owns a car suddenly stopped moving around with his car, it depicts something is wrong, mostly economically.

Then again, at a recent function, it was amazing to hear family members asking in the village when they saw Okey, “I did not see your vehicle, so I did not know you were in town. Hope all is well.” In fact, the first of such question, according to Okey when he traveled home last, was asked the question from his father and then some friends of the mother. Of course, he was firm in telling that he felt like taking a break in driving around, hence he used public transport.

In all these, what came to mind have been why people took so much interest in other peoples kind of mobility with even more emphaises on cars and how you walk to work or get to places around town in this 21st century.

Defined by Physical Therapist, as a move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once and for experts, there are some health benefits of walking.

Benefits of walking:

According to health experts, walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness; reduce risk of heart disease and stroke; improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes; as well as enables stronger bones and improved balance.

Physical activity, such as walking, said health experts at MayoClinic, is important for weight control because it helps individual to burn calories. “If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day.”

Bob Curley of HealthLine.com quoted researchers as saying that a quick walking pace is a good cardiovascular workout, which depends largely on a person’s overall health.

Curley on his piece, “Why Fast Walkers May Live 15–20 Years Longer Than the Rest of Us” noted that taking a brisk walk could increase odds of living longer, and may not matter how much the weight when on slips on walking shoes, a new study suggests.

People who have a quicker walking pace lived longer than those who walked more slowly, according to researchers who monitored the walking habits and deaths of nearly 475,000 people, most of whom were in their 50s at the start of the study.

They defined ‘Brisk walking’ as walking at least three miles per hour, or 100 steps a minute. Although, walking pace was self-reported by participants, who were asked to indicate whether they walked at a slow pace, steady/average pace, or brisk pace.

Equally they observed that with brisk walking paces had longer life expectancies across all categories of Body Mass Index (BMI), according to the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 24.9 range and if your BMI is below 18.5, experts say “you're in the underweight range.” While children and young people aged 2 to 18, normally the BMI calculation takes into account age and gender as well as height and weight. Whereas low weight is a high-risk in this equation.

A clinical epidemiologist at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Francesco Zaccardi, said the survival is the same for fast walkers for a wide range of body mass index, from 20 to 40.

“This result indicates that physical function is a stronger determinant of longevity than body mass index, and also people with high body mass index but with a good fitness may survive longer,” he said, outlining that participants with slower walking paces had shorter life expectancies across all categories of BMI.

Researchers reported that women who walked more quickly had a life span of about 87 years compared to 72 years for women who walked slowly.

Men who walked quickly had a life span of about 86 years compared to 65 years for men who walked more slowly, which is a 15-year average difference for women and a 20-year average difference for men.

“What this tells me is if you’re walking faster you’re doing a very low-intensity form of cardio, and if done on a regular basis, it will strengthen and condition your heart. So, whether you’re overweight or in shape, fast walking does have positive physical effects on your body and life expectancy,” Jamie Hickey, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist at Truism Fitness.
It would be recalled that Nigerian-born music star and mental health advocate, Korede Bello, performed at the World Health Organisation’s Walk the Talk: The Health for All Challenge event on Sunday 19 May, 2019, in Geneva.

Bello, who is a supporter of the United for Global Mental Health organization, said that his passion for mental health through his music cannot be over-emphasised at a session on “Leaving no one behind” where he featured alongside other mental health advocate, Cynthia Germanotta and co-founder, Born This Way Foundation with her daughter Lady Gaga.

Considering the effects of walking, it is therefore, important to take notice of their health by taking charge of their earthly possessions rather than the reverse being the case. So, next time when you see a car owner trekking or taking a walk, its not because there is an economic problem. Make taking a walk a daily exercise.

*Remmy Nweke/DoP

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