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Bipedal Locomotion


One of the things that sets humans apart from other animals, is the perfected two legged walk, technically called bipedal locomotion. Walking, thus, is a hardwired part of our evolution. Turns out this simple activitity can be our ticket to better health and fitness. As Hippocrates said, "Walking is man's best medicine.". It is one of the easiest ways of staying fit, and has none of the dangers of more complex exercises using weights and machines, that can cause muscle pain and injuries. Walking comes naturally to us. It is time we harnessed its potential.

Bipedal Locomotion

To start with, a walk can be of many types. You can try a peaceful ramble, keeping up conversation with a friend on the phone, or who is accompanying you. This is good for lowering stress levels, and is a relaxing activity. Another good excuse to go for a walk is to take your pet out for one. Most dogs tend to trot along at a fair pace, which could help set yours. However, for more significant health benefits, one needs to try walking faster, which is also called brisk walking. A brisk walk is about 3 miles per hour, or 20 mins for a mile. Conversation isn't impossible at this speed, but it needs effort. However, an important point to note before beginning a walking program is to have the right shoes and clothes. They should be comfortable and supportive. It is also important to bring along a bottle of water; the walk should leave you loose and energized, not dehydrated!

It is important to gradually build up the pace as well as the duration of the walk. A 5 mile walk on the first day would only leave you sore, and dispirited about carrying on. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, do check with your doctor to know how much walking is safe for you. Walking briskly is not the same as overstriding, which would tire you out quickly. The walk should be with firm push off, a transfer of weight from heel to mid foot, and finally to the toes as you complete a step. Walk with your head upright and look forward. It is also helpful to swing your waist and arms to increase your speed.

Now, what is your reward for the long walks that you've been taking for the last month? One of the benefits should be obvious to you- walking helps one relax, stave of depression, and ups self-esteem. Another happy outcome- if you've been walking regularly without changing your daily calorie intake, you should definitely notice a drop in your weight. Unlike the weight loss caused by fad diets, this is the kind of weight that isn't water and won't come back easily. Some other amazing benefits of this exercise are as follows:

1. Walking signficantly reduces your chance of contracting, as well as managing, a number of medical conditions, starting from Type 2 Diabetes, colon cancer, to heart diseases.

2. Regular walking can help improve your sexual health and performance.

3. Postmenopausal women who walk have better bone health than those to don't, according to researchers.

4. Walking improves one's cognitive abilities. So you can come back and finally solve the Sudoku puzzle that has been frustrating you!

5. Walking, as a physical activity, adds years to your life.

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