It is not for nothing that spiritual masters, yogacharyas, ayurvedacharyas and fitness experts tell you to go take a walk as a cure for almost anything and everything. It whittles down your fat, puts you in a happier frame of mind if you are upset; for sure, the blackest of all moods disappear as the cool breeze caresses your face as you walk.
Neural activity is heightened and brainwaves might suddenly occur while you move your limbs and eureka! you might even come up with answers to the most unsolvable riddles of your life. A walk among nature always rejuvenates and peps you up. It fills you with endorphins, those feel-good hormones that make your day go better.
It is also a completely natural activity that matches, movement for movement, an activity that our ancestors did millennia ago. Of course they did it without fancy air shoes and minus the swagger or waddle that some of us are now wont to adopt, for the simple reason that whatever the mood you might find yourself in, walking limbers you up to face your day. It pushes your circulation up, and ensures that every pore and cell of your being is oxygenated with natural prana flowing into your millions of nadis and veins.
Spiritual masters talk about nature and about the need to go walking amidst it. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hnah takes walking one step further and prescribes Mindful Walking to his disciples. Some people chant as they walk, chanting the syllable of a mantra at every step, coordinating it with breathing in and out.
Walking is nature’s superlative gift to us, besides being the best-ever aerobic activity known in nature. It uses up all your 600-plus major muscle groups, and you could burn anything from 6 to 8 calories per minute, depending on your weight, size and pace of walking.
Walking allows you to take in deep breaths naturally, and needs nothing besides early morning or evening pleasant weather that turn the simplest of all walks into a rejuvenating and health-giving free gift from nature. It increases bone density too, and is known to be the most effective flab-fighting activity that exists. There is no age limit to walking. A baby of one year learns to walk and almost everyone walks till the last days of their lives.
You have to try walking on fresh green grass early mornings and then sit down in a park on a bench beneath a tree soaking in health-giving prana from the trees and leaves just a few times. You will soon be hooked.
Healthcare workers prescribe it as routinely as they do their medicines, knowing that this one ingredient has better chances of setting you back on the road to good health, than all the medicines they have scribbled for you on prescription sheets.
The irony is that half those ailments wouldn’t have made an appearance in your body if you had done your share of daily walking as the Creator had meant it to be. That’s how important walking is. The divine gave you this gift so that you could commune with beautiful nature and breathe in the divinity that surrounds you.
Reena Singh has more than 37 years’ experience in senior editorial positions in The Times of India (TOI) and Genpact. She was Deputy Editor with TOI’s spiritual newspaper, The Speaking Tree, where she spent nine years.