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Feet on the Ground: The Pleasures of Walking


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Walking is a form of exercise that has demonstrably helped individuals around the world to resist heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer.

There are no less than three gleaming, air-conditioned and ultra-modern gyms in my neighbourhood, and I have never set foot in any of them. However, as I walk past them in the crisp morning air, I see hard-working exercisers tone their bodies and muscles on expensive machinery and cannot help feeling happier that I am out in the open, among the birds and the newspaper vendors, the retired uncles and the teenage joggers.

This is not meant to be a diatribe against gymming – far from it. These valuable fitness centers attract the clientele they do today because of the results that people are able to perceive – toned bodies, a healthier and more alert mind, and the company that builds around their gym schedules – many enduring relationships start as casual friendships in the gym. But in this situation, the merits of walking still bear discussion. 

 

Walking is a form of exercise that has demonstrably helped individuals around the world to resist heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer. Exercise plays its part in keeping us fit and robust well into our riper years, and keenness of the mind is a great side effect of exercising regularly and often. And yet, most people have an inborn resistance to exert themselves. As we get used to more and more of a sedentary lifestyle, even reaching across to a table kept a few feet away for the TV remote can be something to avoid!

So walking presents us an opportunity to get over such inhibitions because it brings with it other more pleasurable side effects. Do you live in a green and peaceful neighbourhood? Well, walking through it at an early hour helps you perceive its best features, while you may just be whizzing through it in your car otherwise. Do you live in the center of town, in a busy and congested area? Walking these streets gives you an insight into people and vocations, new establishments that have sprung up and others that have closed down, before the street gets really busy. For a writer whose vocation demands observation, walking is an essential activity, as important from the mental stimulation point of view, as it is from the point of physical exercise.

And it is not only that walking can be done in the early morning hours. While this time undoubtedly has its benefits, for some it can be allergy producing, especially during the winter months. An evening walk can be as soothing and beneficial, and many in my neighbourhood can be seen taking one as late as nine p.m!

The older generation swore by walking, and many combine it with simple chores like shopping for fresh vegetables and milk every day, or spiritual ones like a quick visit to the temple. In our craze for the latest fads, we may be missing out on the practical benefits of many such traditional recipes. However, even while walking may not be as fashionable as an aggressive gymming routine, it is one activity that will never really go out of style. And in its own way, it will always keep us centered and ‘earthy’, with our feet in good contact with the ground!

To get your own best out of walking, remember to:

- Wear good walking shoes and appropriate, comfortable clothes.
- Take small and swift strides rather than over reaching yourself with long strides.
- Take a pause in your walk at some scenic spot and inhale a few deep breaths as you look upon the scene – if you know a simple ‘pranayam’ try that too.
- Use the walk as an opportunity to connect with the people, places and flavours of your environment. Greet other regulars with a smile – passing on some cheer is great for both of you.
- Hum a tune or connect to your portable music if you want to.

Just remember, if your walking is to do your health and spirits long-term good, all you have to do is ‘Keep Walking’!

 

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Responses to Feet on the Ground: The Pleasures of Walking

  1. 1 Jo

    Hi friends…….

    I loved this article on walking. It is the BEST and CHEAPEST form of exercise. It helped me lose more than 35kgs.I walk about 7 kms in the morning and 5kms on the treadmill in the evening.
    I try to walk to all my destinations, those which are humanly possible of course !
    All my shopping is done on foot, so as they said it already..KEEP WALKING !

  2. 2 Srividhya

    :biggrin_wp:

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