SRINAGAR: On an early morning visit to the parks around Srinagar, dozens of women can be seen walking, jogging and even cycling to keep themselves fit.
Most of them may not appear like fitness freaks on a first look. Besides wearing sports shoes, these women are dressed in simple Salwar-Kameez. 33- year-old Nowhseen, who is a regular visitor to the park near her residence at Nigeen, is a case in point. Every morning at 5:30, she leaves for the park along with her two other female neighbors to take a brisk walk.
“I remember my grandfather used to say that one must make it a habit to walk barefoot on grass early morning. I don’t know whether it has any medical values or not but it surely refreshes one’s body, mind and soul. I feel energized for the whole day. In addition to this, the atmosphere, the chirping of birds, the early morning air—all blends so well that one feels completely elated,” said Nowsheen, a regular walker for over a decade.
Besides, Nigeen park, Almond Alcove (Badamwari), Hazratbal park, Kashmir University lawns, Naseem Bagh, Iqbal Park are some of the choicest places where a large number of local women are seen exercising every morning.
Andaleeb, 41, started going out for walks only two years ago on the suggestion of her physiotherapist friend. Since then, she says there has been a relative improvement in her overall health. “I had weight problems along with diabetes. Now alhamdulil’lah, there has been a lot of improvement. Besides losing all my extra kilos, my sugar level has been constant since then. My health has improved to another level which is the biggest incentive that makes me move out early in the morning,” Andaleeb, a resident of Habak, told Kashmir Reader.
While most of the women are going out for early morning walk out of their health consciousness, few have been advised by their doctors.
Arifa who is in her late forties has been advised to walk religiously. “I am hypertensive and I also have problem in my both joints. My doctor says that the more I walk, the more I can improve. It used to be difficult at first, but now I have become accustomed to it,” said Arifa, a resident of Hawal.
Besides, health values, early morning walks are also serving with social values for many.
“Walk for me has not only health values but therapeutics as well. Every day, I meet new people, we exercise and interact together. It’s a whole new experience,” said Sabiya, 35, a regular walker.
Experts say walking is the easiest physical activity which does not usually need any specific screening or preliminary check-ups before starting.
Dr Taizeena Khan, founder/principal ‘Red Letter Phyline (RLP)’, Centre for Women’s and Pediatric Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, says that walking reduces bad cholesterol in the body and increases good cholesterol, which is very important for keeping the cardiovascular system healthy.
“A brisk walk for around 30-45 minute would serve the purpose usually, on the other hand a relaxed walk can help you reduce your hypertension and anxiety,” Dr Khan told Kashmir Reader.
“The other area where active lifestyle helps and is very much neglected in Kashmir is pregnancy. A relaxed 15-20 minute walk every day and some specific exercises advised by your physiotherapist can help you keep a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and might also help you go in a normal labour. So, maintaining an active life style which also may include early morning walks is very beneficial,” added Dr Khan.