Walking can boost health and help ease traffic jams | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

With the holidays over, the Department of Public Works and Highways has announced it will resume repair and maintenance work on Metro Manila roads. Which means traffic woes will worsen.


Drivers ignorant of traffic rules and regulations cause much of the problem. But many commuters encourage them to violate those rules.


Although there are designated stops for public utility vehicles (PUV), many passengers insist on alighting wherever and whenever they want, even if the jeepney has to stop in the middle of the street.


Some passengers don’t wait for a PUV to stop on a red light or cross an intersection. They choose to wait and alight in front of their destination even if it is just a few feet from where another passenger got off.


People do not want to walk a few blocks. When stuck in traffic, they would rather wait, even if walking will probably get them to their destinations quicker. For short distances they also prefer to take tricycles and pedicabs, which unfortunately add to traffic woes.


It is time commuters take every opportunity to walk short distances, not just to help ease traffic but also to keep physically and mentally fit.


Short walks


Diana Vilibert, in an article for care2.com, says walking can lower stress levels when done amid green spaces.


The bad effects of prolonged sitting, a problem for office workers and homebound people, can be reversed even by short walks. Vilibert says, “An Indiana University study found that the muscle activity and blood flow from three five-minute walks a day could reverse the damage caused to leg arteries from three hours of sitting.”


She suggests people who sit all day at work should take frequent breaks (at least once an hour) for a short walk.


A study by Stanford University scientists, according to Vilibert, found that walking “increases creativity levels during the walk and shortly after, producing twice as many creative responses as when you’re sitting.”


People with hypertension can lower their blood pressure by 30 minutes of brisk walking or breaking it up into 10 three-minute walks, says Vilibert.


Although it seems inconsistent, walking can actually energize tired bodies. Vilibert says a University of Georgia study found that low-intensity exercise, like walking, can increase your energy level by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by 65 percent.


If the long commute sours your mood, adding 10 minutes of walking to the trip can improve well-being, according to study author Adam Martin.


Those who want to lower their blood sugar can take a 15-minute walk after each meal. Walking reduces blood sugar levels for over 24 hours, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.


Vilibert adds that research from Appalachian State University reveals that a daily 30- to 45-minute walk at a brisk pace can boost the immune system and keep colds at bay, if not cut them short or make them less severe.


Walking can help keep older adults sharp by having better memory and cognition (the mental process of knowing). About two and a half hours of brisk walking a week can also help cut breast cancer risk by 42 percent, according to research by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.


Light exercise like walking has also been shown to ease the effects of fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue and mood swings in women.


Let’s help ease traffic jams and get some exercise by doing more walking!


Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected].

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