Nowadays, we have new forms of exercises and training to maintain ourselves- cardio, HIIT, kick boxing etc. For those who don’t like hitting the gym, there are sports and exercises like tennis, badminton and swimming. While all of these may be extremely beneficial for one’s physical fitness, in my opinion the best one can do to achieve fitness- both physical and mental is walking. It provides one the opportunity to stay fit, and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. The exhilarating feeling you get when the cool morning breeze flutters across your face is a one of its kind experience.
Walking is an exercise that can be done by people of all age groups- young or old, thereby making it an all-accessible activity. Walking does not need any extra efforts in term of money, equipment or special kind of clothes or sneakers. The only equipment needed is a pair of normal functioning legs! Without putting in extra efforts, walking can be incorporated in one’s schedule very easily. Most of the localities have a park inside their residential areas and those living in independent houses have the nearby park in that particular sector. These parks serve as the most appropriate places for walking. And of course, there are other centrally located parks that occasionally serve as places of leisure and can serve as walking destinations.
It is not that walking is not a form of exercise. It is a cardio-exercise. And walking does not literally mean walking; it can also be extended to jogging and running. Walking helps one come out of the monotonous routine of lethargy and inactivity. A brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in the body, helping one feel more alert and alive. Frequent walking reduces the lower body fat. Walking after meals helps improve blood glucose level and maintain a steady blood pressure.
Walking helps one live longer. A study of over 7000 male and 31000 female recreational walkers found that walking substantially reduces mortality risk. It also has wide-ranging intellectual benefits and improves memory and cognitive control, thereby positively affecting academic performance of students and professional endeavours of adults. Research has shown that walking positively affects the genes responsible for fat and carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle and reduces inflammatory gene expression in the fat tissue.
Walking also stimulates thinking. And since it is a low-impact exercise, this time can be used to contemplate. We can direct our mind to more internal matters and find solutions to existing problems or think about future endeavours. Alternatively, walking can be used as a form of meditation. The time can be used shut off one’s mind from all the chatter and disturbances that otherwise prevail in one’s daily life. Walking in a natural setting and breathing in the fresh air helps reduce stress levels.
If you step out of your house early morning and go to any park, you will notice that there are different people who are brisk walking, running and jogging. What one will also come across amidst this routine of fitness is that these people often pause to talk to each other and build new relationships. Walking provides a way to make new relationships and strengthen existing ones. Though gyming may not be a family workout, walking certainly is. The members of a family get to spend quality time with each other.
However the problem is that even though many of us know the benefits of walking, yet we come up with all kinds of excuses for not being able to take out time from our schedules for any form of physical activity. Walking has long-term advantages for both the mind and the body. Hence, for the sake of our physical and mental well-being, we must take out at least 30 minutes daily for walking. We need to get rid of procrastination and start walking regularly. We must change our sedentary lifestyle and get out of the four walls of our offices, homes, colleges, as the case may be.
Walk and experience the wave of freshness and energy within yourself. Then there will be more reasons to walk than to avoid it!