Saturday, December 6, 2008



( Always ensure first the basic facilitating conditions to ensure result)

Morning Walk …. Such a simple thing to do; so..o.. many people do it regularly ; such a known-to-be beneficial and often-recommended health tip !!

I am ashamed to confess, it has taken me so..o..o very long to give it a start.

Not because I did not know the benefits.

Not because I did not know I personally require it, if not for anything else, just to address my overweight !

Not because I did not actually have the time. ( Although, that was the excuse I had been giving myself all these years in the name of my more important morning chores I had to finish before I left for office everyday … and as I said, it was just an excuse.)

But I guess, because

I never was serious enough.

And I never had purchased myself a pair of walking shoes !!

Perhaps, I should even reverse the order and make “not having a pair of walking shoes”the first reason. Had I bought me the walking shoes earlier, I might have been interested to just try out, even when I was not very serious enough and finding its early signs of benefit, I might have become serious about it.

Lost opportunity … for me. At least, I have started it now. But I want to share it with the lazy-heads like me, who are yet to start morning walking, so that at least you do not lose the opportunity of reaping the benefits of this wonderful, yet simple habit, before it is too late ( well, remember, it is never too late to try anything good till we die !!)

It happened like this: for the recent Europe Tour, I had purchased this pair of walking shoes as per the instruction given in the travel manual … AND thank god, I complied with the instruction. It was absolutely required as most part of the touring & sight-seeing was by walking and I shudder to think of having to walk so much in high heels !!

And YES ! I loved walking in these shoes – felt so light-footed, without any strain and it most certainly made me feel very nice and energetic ( despite the fact that we were hardly eating much. Wait a sec… was it because we ate so little? Ha, ha - in India, we all are such foodies. Of course, climate does a bit of mischief here – one feels hungry. There in Europe, it was such lovely cool ( not bone-chilling) climate that you do not feel hungry for hours after having just one sandwich !! When we returned home, I was virtually amazed at what I discovered ! I had lost some weight ( never happened earlier despite my hectic schedule and a few attempts at yoga ).

So, I was resolute enough this time … I must make it a HABIT to have morning walk. This time, I had no excuses … no hurry to go anywhere, I have the walking shoes ( on earlier occasions when I had tried walking with my regular slippers on, I found it truly hurting and inconvenient .) , and this time, I am very very serious to shape up a bit (this is one of my “goals” on my personal mission statement prepared immediately after I left my job). It all helped … I am having morning walk now-a-days regularly and can feel the positive impact.

So.. the point is : even if I was serious about walking, I was actually not doing this earlier, as I had not ensured the basic facilitating tool for that – a pair of walking shoes. Appears such a small issue – but has such a fundamental implication .

Many a time, I used to wonder, if morning walk is all that simple (… all that you need to do is, open your door, step out, and start walking. …..), then why there are so many ( like I used to be ) who would just wish to do it but end up procastinating ???

No, it is not all that simple, as it involves getting up early and that requires a lot of motivation, you admit it or not – and especially when you have such a packed schedule everyday that you get to go to bed late at night. Most of us in today’s world have this kind of a daily schedule and given a chance, we would rather steal those few more minutes of sleep early in the morning, than wake up, put on the shoes and step out to walk. It becomes easy only when we have strong motivation to start, the facilitaing conditions, feel the benefits ourselves and let this become a habit.

Let me try helping you form this invaluable habit, if not formed already !

DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MOTIVATION ?? JUST GO THROUGH THE FOLLOWING brief account of all the amazing benefits that accrue from brisk walking .. as the doctors say:

ü right-sizes your body ( the only tangible abode where your spirit resides ) ; particularly when you are overweight.

Just think, 1 pound of fat = 3500 calories and 1 kg fat = 2.2 pound fat = 7700 calories. To lose one KG weight, you need to burn extra 7700 calories energy with the present calorie intake and activity level !! When we walk, our body burns stored fat and supplies the required energy to our exercising muscles – perhaps the easiest way to burn extra fat !! Experts say, roughly 240 calories get expended if a 60KG weight person walks 5 KM a day so that per month roughly 7200 calories can be expended through walking.

ü builds Cardio Respiratory fitness

Walking helps in maintaining an optimum capacity of your circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen and other nutrients to the various muscles and body organs, which in turn provide protection against many heart ailments we are so familiar with and reduces risk of heart stroke.

ü reduces Blood Pressure

Regular brisk walking for just about 30 minutes a day amounts to aerobic physical activity that can reduce blood pressure by 4 to 9mm Hg.

ü prevents diabetes in normal persons and pre-diabetic individuals and controls diabetes in diabetes patients, as regular walking increases insulin sensitivity.

ü de-stresses by releasing the neuro transmitters endorphins which produce relaxation and remove pain.

ü promotes good sleep

ü Improves lipid profile – increases hdl ( good) cholesterol and decreases ldl ( bad) cholesterol as well as total cholesterol even in the absence of any significant weight reduction.

ü Assists in making bones stronger and helps in protecting against osteoporosis ( a disease of low bone mass leading to fragility & increased susceptibility to fractures.) Muscles and bones are living tissues that respond to exercise like walking.

ü Reduces risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and endometrium cancer

ü Delays aging – age related decrease in skeletal muscle mass ; helps look younger

ü Enhances brain power .

“ If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a

man when he goes for a walk.” So said Raymond Inmon.

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

I have personally felt this very very strongly, ever since I have started taking walk early in the morning on my terrace, deeply enjoying the fresh air, the chirping birds, the holy bells ringing at temples, the morning sun rising with all its crimson grandeur, the tall,green trees, … and the free flow of ideas, some of them coming in flashes from nowhere!! This article is also the result of that .

There is a scientific reason to this, as I learnt now. Walking releases endorphins, sometimes called as natural happy chemicals, which reduces pain, improves mood and relieves depression. It also stimulates the brain to increase the production of neurotransmitter, serotonin, which promotes feeling of well-being. Walking increases blood flow to brain and increases thinking ability.

[Credit for the above medically tested information : Dr S .Velumani & Dr V.Jeyalakshmi. In fact, since you have read so far, I would reward you by sharing that these two doctors have jointly authored a book titled “Walking” which is an amazing book dealing with this topic very comprehensively with lots of practical tips on how to go about it. A must-read by all non-medicos !! ]

Experts say, the human foot is an anatomical complex engineering project, involving 26 bones united together with 107 ligaments nd 32 muscles with 37 intervening joints. And no other foot among the millions of species in this planet has ever been designed with such precision as the human foot. The simple act of walking involves half of all the body’s 650 muscles and tendons; upright walking requires hundreds of adaptations throughout the body from bottom to top. No wonder, walking is considered to be a near-perfect exercise !

So.o..o?? Have I succeeded in waking you up, my lazy friends ?

Let me assure you – it does not take more than 7 days to form this habit and once it becomes a habit, the rest just keeps on happening… so not that difficult either . Just make up your mind .

Yeah, besides the walking shoes, you may be required to ensure a couple of other facilitating factors : like what to wear and where to go . Keep these two things convenient for you so that you do not find excuses in them to discontinue walking. For example, I have chosen my terrace ( it has enough stretch that allows me to build up the required speed/pace ) instead of a near-by stadium because I save a lot of time and I don’t have to care how I dress up. For dress, I just slip into salwar-kameez , does not matter even if crumpled, I don’t have to do my hair or bother about meeting people.

REMEMBER… but for the human feet, we would be swinging from one tree to another. Let us use them for the purpose they are designed … get going … start walking, if you have not yet !!!


Soumya said...

Hey Snigdha --- were you in DAV by any chance back in the 80s?

snigdha said...

No,Soumya !! But thanks for dropping by. Hey, I could not access your profile to know who u r .

And thanks again - know why? I was in school in 70s and your one-liner made me feel at least 10 years younger, Ha, ha. Pl,leave your blog URL - I would love to visit .

Daphne said...


What a coincidence... I just bought a pair of running shoes today and then saw your post! Must be some sort of kharma?

I have the opposite problem - used to jog 3km everyday and loved the workout plus the relaxation it provided, except that my knees are giving way. Hence the new shoes in the hope that they're better for the knees.

All the best with your walking!


snigdha said...

That's great Daphne - do start using your walking shoes; sure, you won't miss your jogging anymore .

Sneha said...


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