Friday, March 21, 2008

Brisk walking - helpful and therapeutic

Thank God for discovering the joy and helpfulness of brisk walking and regular exercise end of last year while recovering from an episode of severe depression. I was encouraged to do brisk walking or other form of exercise for between 30 to 45 minutes daily as it can work like anti-depressant.

I do brisk walking around the neighbourhood of my home as regular as I can. Sometimes I go for long walks at the beach or gardens. I also signed up for a trial-membership with an all ladies gym near my home which had a very special offer at that point of time. I did brisk walking on their treadmill between 30 to 45 minutes daily, 3 to 5 times a week. I was on 20mg fluoxetine (common brand name is Prozac) daily at that point of time. After 1 week of doing brisk walking regularly, I was able to lower the dosage of my anti-depressant. And after 2 months, I was completely off the anti-depressant. Now I am on a mood stabiliser, 100mg Lamotrigine (brand name is Lamictal) and anti-psychotic, 25mg Quetiapine (brand name is Seroquel) every night. My doctor said I will probably need these 2 medication life long as they will help to stabilise my moods in the longer run. But whenever I fall into severe depression, I will need to take a short course of anti-depressant to lift me up to a more functional level. Then I can benefit from exercise and other helps.

Thank God for providing various helps for me as I strive to understand and manage bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). With medical helps, counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, regular exercise, Omega 3 fish oil, managing stress level, et etc my condition is under control now and I am able to live a more stable and productive life. I also pray and read the Bible daily and finding much joy, strength and comfort in God to live for Him.

I find brisk walking and other form of regular exercise are good to help me to fight depression. I think they are also good for general physical and mental health, and in preventing heart disease.

For those of us with physical or other illness or our age above 40, it may be good to check with our Doctor before we start regular exercise or vigorous exercise so that we do not injure ourselves during exercise or do exercise which is not suitable for us. Those with knee problems in particular, should be very careful with what kind of exercise we do, or what to do before and after exercise. Best to consult our physician.

For me, I do enjoy brisk walking a lot and I am beginning to enjoy nature and God's creations in many wonderful ways. I also picked up photography and am deriving great joys in capturing some of these beauties in God's creations with my digital camera.

I find myself physically more stronger and healthier when I started regular brisk walking and exercise. I found that mentally I am also more alert and happier after my exercise. I managed also to lose a bit of weight which has been troubling me for many years and making me very sluggish and lethargic. Therefore, I do personally find brisk walking very therapeutic and helpful in my recovery from depression as well as maintaining my physical and mental well being now.

There are truly a wide spectrum to the experiences of those with depression and bipolar depression. So sometimes brisk walking or regular exercise may be very difficult for those of us who are severely depressed as we are depleted of all energy or we simply didn't have the desire or will to do anything. We may find waking up in the morning itself is very very difficult. There will be times when a family member or friend's accompaniment for a walk maybe helpful and motivating. And whenever we are well enough to go for walks on our own and get the sunshine, I think it may be helpful to our physical and mental well being. And when we are no longer severely depressed, regular exercise or brisk walking may help in maintaining our physical and mental well-being in complement to our medical and other existing helps.

My friend and brother-in-Christ, George, emailed me this helpful and informative Powerpoint presentation on the advantage and importance of brisk walk especially in preventing Heart Disease.

Download this Powerpoint Slide on Brisk Walk : briskwalking.pps

In this Powerpoint Slide, it is documented the following :

Heart Disease is one of the most common diseases afflicting today's workers.

Caused by excessive stress, smoking, high calorie diet, sedentry lifestly, this disease is the no. 1 killer of today's employees.

Sedentry life style, smoking, high calorie diet, stress, alcohol may lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and over weight. These in turn may lead to angina, heart attack, cardiac arrest and heart failure. The end result may be blockage in coronary arteries or clot coronary arteries or constriction of coronary arteries.

With all these health problem, our family and job may be greatly affected. Expenses over medical treatments may increase or loss of income due to poor health. We may also experience much anxieties, sadness and loss of peace of mind.

Only we can do something about it. And we can start with a simple step TODAY.

It is recommended that we take a brisk walk for 30 minutes daily, every day.

For over 40 years now, studies have shown walking to be the best form of exercise that people of all ages can do.

  • Regular walking can increase the levels of good cholesterol.
  • Regular walking is a positive habit to replace smoking with.
  • Regular walking makes the heart work more efficiently and improves blood circulation. Blood vessels become more elastic and the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues increases.
  • Walking is one easy way to deal with tension, anxiety and stress. Studies show that people who exercise regularly can cope better with stresses of life. Walking recharges our batteries after tension and stress have drained them of power and energy.
  • Regular brisk walking improves muscle tone, makes your heart stronger and gives you that bite of fitness. Do it regularly for 30 minutes every day and enjoy that feeling of fitness from within.

Caution for those with knee pain: walk at normal pace. Do knee stretching exercises as shown in two of the slides.

Simplest - Cheapest - Easiest

Effective & Safe
  • Reduces Stress
  • Helps quit smoking
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Massages the legs
  • Strengthens the muscles
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Improves blood circulation
Build it in your daily routine, 30 minutes ever day.

Strengthen your heart and your health, walking 30 minutes briskly every day.

No comments: