By Myra Imran
Considering its immense benefits, more and more people in town are taking time out to go for a brisk walk and as their number grows so have the spots that provide a perfect setting for a stroll.
Perhaps the most fancied spot remains the Fatima Jinnah Park. Each morning and evening, scores of people arrive at this park either to walk, jog or exercise or further still just sit and while away the time.
The park, the biggest in Islamabad is thought to be the most appropriate place to walk because of its vastness and pollution-free atmosphere. The walking tracks and exercise areas, though less in number, makes it a perfect place for those seeking to have healthy life.
Yet not everyone prefers to go there for it does not seem to suit people living in sectors away from it. Hence many people have their own preferred places to walk — it could be by the roadside like the tree-lined Ataturk Avenue or Khayaban-e-Iqbal, or the Shalimar Cricket Ground that sits in the lap of the Margalla Hills or the tartan track of the Pakistan Sports Complex.
Facilities such as these are seen being used regularly by people who have stepped up the pace in a bid to stay fit and healthy. Try visiting the Shalimar Ground and the seriousness of the people walking around the lush green outfield is evident. Men, women and even children, all looking quite sporty with their sneakers on, would go for several laps each day before ending their routine.
For the more adventurous though the Trail III remains quite attractive, as is now Trail V that was opened to public only recently. But health experts do not recommend these trails for prolonged use, as they believe that it could harm the knee joints.
The Pakistan Sports Complex, although for members only, is another of Islamabad’s preferred facilities where too men and women walk the length of the artificial track while youngsters among them amateurs and professional players do their routine training.
An official of the Sports Complex told ‘The News’ that the number of members had increased considerably in past few years. “These were facilities that were not made available to public, but ever since membership was introduced this place has sprung to life,” he said.
Health experts point out that regular exercise and walking are of integral importance in the upkeep of health of an individual. Dr. Nauman Niaz, a consultant physician, said that walking is a cardiovascular activity. “It keeps the heart healthy and also there is more entrapment of oxygen and anti-oxidants giving more oxygen to the tissues,” he explained.
He said that regular walking meant more up take of glucose by the muscles. “Therefore it is a natural anabolic activity that keeps our muscles healthy and strong while also reducing the risk of hyperglycaemia.” Dr. Niaz said that walking also triggered more supply of glucose and oxygen to the brain that kept one alert. “If we walk regularly our muscles remain in shape and high physical endurance,” he said, adding that walking also led to rapid change of gases in the lungs in turn to improve the respiratory system while keeping cholesterol and triglycerides under check.
“There is clinical evidence that if we walk regularly and do exercises, the anti-oxidants are stimulated and in women, who are more prone to osteoporosis, walk becomes mandatory as it reduces the risk of disease,” he said. The News