May 13 post – Exercise and the “talk-sing” test

Practically everyone is aware that exercise is essential to good health.  However, not everyone who exercises gets the full benefits.  Furthermore, there is such a thing as over-exercising and it will reverse whatever benefits one gets.  So, how do we exercise to get benefits?

First, just like most everything, there is really no such thing as the best exercise – just as there is no such thing as the best food, the best water, the best anything.  Among the healthful tips we can keep in mind, two are: variety and moderation.  Variety means that there is no single solution for or to  everything, that it takes the combination (and harmonization) of many factors to bring about benefits.  Moderation just means that we have to strike a balance – and balance is personal (i.e., it depends on the individual, there is no universal balance for everybody, much like normal blood pressure, which will be the subject for my next post).

In this post we are focusing on a simple (not necessarily the best, mind you) exercise that most everyone can do and will reap benefits.  It is the “talk-sing” test.

You begin by walking.  As you walk, try to see if you can sing.  If you can sing, you are walking too slow.  Increase your pace until you find it difficult (not impossible) to sing.  Next, try to talk.  If you cannot talk, you are walking too fast, slow down until you can talk.  In other words, your pace should be at a speed where you cannot sing but you can talk.

As you will notice, different people (at different stages in their life and at different states of fitness – not health) will have differing thresholds.  For those who are “not as fit”, the talk-sing range would be lower or slower.  But, if you start walking regularly and doing the “talk-sing” test to gauge your level of fitness, you will find that, over time, your pace range will increase.

Fitness is not significantly dependent on age.  Older people who are fit will have a faster pace range, while young unfit people will have a slower pace range.

Walking may not be the best means of exercise, but it is most certainly the cheapest (at most, you may just invest in a pair of good footwear), the simplest (no special skills are needed), the most versatile (you can do it virtually anywhere), and the safest (no danger of drowning, etc).

Finally, although it does not really matter (that much) where you walk, there is an ideal place to do your walking – out with Mother Nature.  In fact, nothing beats walking barefoot on grass, especially freshly cut grass right after a significant downpour.  Walking barefoot massages the soles, which, in acupressure, massages the pressure points in our soles that connect to our internal organs, to keep them toned.  The greenery provides us with freshly-manufactured oxygen (while we provide the plants with our freshly-manufactured carbon dioxide).  If the grass is surrounded by trees, the shade will keep you cool, while the green surroundings is refreshing to the eyes.  Just make sure the path/trail you decide to trek on is free of sharp and pointed objects and of other unwanted things (like animal poop and droppings, etc).

My next post will be about blood pressure.  Is there such a thing as a normal blood pressure?  What is your average blood pressure?  And, what causes a rise in blood pressure?

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