This section is from the book "Holistic Medicine", by Shriniwas J. Kashalikar.
The advantages of moderate exercise are known to most of us. But walking is an exercise of lower extremities and this strengthens the skeletal muscle pump involved in venous return This reduces the load on the heart and thus contributes to the prevention of ischemic heart diseases.
Walking is invariably associated with sound sleep which is rare in sedentary jobs.
According to AYURVEDA our existence is PANCHAMAHABHAUTIKA i.e. constituted by five basic elements Contact with all these is important for health This is the basis of naturopathy. Thus, contact with mud IPRUTHWIj, water [AAPA] Sun [TEJA], breeze [VAYU] and open space [AKASHA] are beneficial to health Excepting mud and water walking provides all these As far as water is concerned, rainy season provides opportunity to get it and march towards health at least when I are on our way back to our home.
Since walking does not involve aerobic type of caloric expenditure and increase in heart rate and cardiac output [The volume of blood pumped by each ventricle per one full minute] it is safer than such exercises even for patient who have border line ischemia [Reduction in the blood supply) of heart.
Health of lungs and stomach and skin:
Phyllogenetically [i.e. through evolution) our skin has developed from the sheath through which several processes essential for life used to take place Can some of these be reactivated? Not likely. But can not deny the possibility entirely.
By walking in open air I promote many functions of skin including thermoregulation, vitamin D synthesis etc.. Walking is associated with generalized increase in blood supply to the skin as 111 as mucous membranes. This would facilitate healing of various chronic lesions of skin and promote production of protective mucus in stomach thus prevent or alleviate ulcer in stomach. Improved circulation would also promote mucus secretion in lungs and promote secretion as 111 as removal of mucus and with it bacteria and other particles by ciliary movement.
From economy point of view money is of great importance even though it is next in importance to our conscience Hence saving money when feasible is very essential Saving on bus fare, car and petrol or taxi is thus coupled with health Chauffeur driven air-conditioned car contributed to one's RAJ ASA pleasure but simultaneously bloats one's ego as 111 as the abdomen! Further it stuffs the sinuses in many)
If I take a bus for a distance of say 4 or 5 bus stops, and then it may take about 20 to 25 minutes to reach the working place This is variable depending upon the arrival of the bus and lose the opportunity to exercise then I may have to spend time in reaching a health club or a swimming pool or a yoga center. This involves spending of extra time and extra money Instead, walking averts the waiting time and saves the time and money one may have to spend for going to health club.
Petrol and oils are important sources of energy and their saving is a valuable service to humanity and to the nation.
From psychological point of view anxiety is usual in our society due to day to day problems which may vary in their nature from rich to poor Moreover sense of insecurity is also common. But like the moderate exercise walking also is most likely to be associated with endorphin release and thereby reduction of anxiety.
Many of us need attention from others This is not abnormal but a kind of borderline hysteria. Thus when I don't get attention from others I start unconsciously dejecting ourselves When we are walking we see that people at large do not get attention. Gradually I learn to live without the crutches of others attention with independent sense of dignity...
Waiting on the bus stop is almost always associated with restless and impatient moments and grumbling and complaints. This is because we are eager to reach home Walking automatically removes this unpleasant and sickening element from our life.
Walking (especially to your working place) is a treat to heart as III as soul This is because such walking is not the sort of walking which the excessively health conscious persons are busy with Natural walking derives inspiration from the youthful and dynamic efforts for survival unlike the walking of health freaks from which I get infected by the anxiety about Weight, age, or disease!
Walking gives us physical confidence which is of enormous value during convalescences in general but especially during recovery from debilitating illnesses and other situations such as advancing age and diffidence in ones physical capacity due to many causes such as sedentary job.
Walking gives us extraordinary sensation of the presence of every tissue which I become unaware of due to disuse1 This sensation is some sort of likable rawness in leg muscles tendons, joints etc.
From social point of view, awareness of the social reality is very important. Many of us dwell in a state of moid where the hardships of others are unknowingly ignored. This creates an undue concern about pure problems This leads to simply magnifying our problems and in turn being over-sensitive about it.
It is always necessary to remember that for achievement of our goals no one else is responsible other than us I should not expect other to fulfill our dreams of our goals But by the same logic I should not get distracted by indulging in gossips or small talks. Walking automatically makes this possible without any bitterness.
Walking brings peace This is because I no more compete for train, bus or taxi, or interactions with bus conductors and taxi drivers which are usually unpleasant are completely avoided.
By being out of the bus or train I reduce the pain of die fel 1 o w passengers.
Walking is die most romantic thing The sight of love and warm interactions amongst the pavement hutment dwellers can inspire and excite even the most depressed and cynical individual This can teach most us, how to love in spite of differences and difficulties!
From cultural point of view, exposure to the life of die people from a variety of professions .businesses, jobs which is important and is much more than what is described in books This exposure makes our mind and vision broader and healthier. This gives us immensely broad base and thereby stability to our mind and it also gives us strength to overcome times of stress and struggle Walking offsets ourbookish and dogmatic concepts and fossilised thinking and uplifts to new profundity arid dynamism which can match the true nature of life.
From hygienic point of view, traveling in trains,buses and even taxis can result in infections Walking avoids this possibility Sun light is known to be antimicrobial so this would contribute to disinfectant effect.
From environmental point of view, the vehicular horns and engines create noise which contributes to stress and stress related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, anxiety and such other disorders Air pollution caused by vehicles causes respiratory disorders The more I walk the lesser I contribute to such pollution.
Walking precludes the buying of vehicles and their use and hence it reduces the crowding of vehicles on roads and parking places as 111 as reduces their use and thereby reduces their wear and tear.
Accidents a very common cause of deaths and morbidity.
Pedestrians have been harassed and endangered by psychopathic / ignorant / irresponsible driving of many, but the pedestrians themselves never endangers others lives. Walking thus contributes to health of others by virtue of being non violent.
From political point of view, if the ministers and the other policy makers as III as the top executives begin to walk then their planning and implementation of programs can achieve new and humane dimensions.
From geriatric point of view walking has distinct advantage over many other forms of exercises. Thus it does not cause jerks. This consideration is especially important with advancing; age The jerks associated with some forms exercise or games such as jogging, tennis etc have a potential risk of causing muscle sprain, tendon tear, hgamental sprain or trauma [noticeable or otherwise) to the Weight bearing cartilages Walking which is associated with no jerks is thus far safer than other such exercises or games.
From aesthetic point of view, tanning may be welcome phenomena for some but calamity for the others But tanning can be avoided if desired by use of umbrella. Weight reduction is one more factor that may give better and desirable shape to the body.
Are there any LIMITATIONS? NO.
Some distances are too much to walk and hence impossible and some are too short so walking your way to office does not involve walking as such! But this limitation of distance can be overcome by walking part of the distance, walking for shopping, climbing few staircases etc depending on the situation and feasibility...
Is there anything paradoxical in walking ? NO The author is fully aware that many of us are forced to walk miles together for their survival as they have no other choice But this article does not address to only elite masses It is to be noted that if they [economically handicapped people) appreciate these advantages of walking and then walk their way then their walking also would not be as much miserable as it is considered by them to be Moreover if others [economically privileged] appreciate the advantages of walking then their feeling of superiority will be uncoupled from the vehicles!
Are there any disadvantages of walking? NO. Walking seems to have one disadvantage! While walking we are endangered to someextentbyirresponsibleorpsychopathic driving, stray dogs, cumulative deposits of garbage and filth especially in cities like Mumb ai One can never argue in favor these tilings But it is to be remembered that in cities like Mumbai these things are ubiquitous, present everywhere and not associated with walking alone But be that as it may, with some degree of patience, tolerance, caution while crossing as 111 as walking and alertiiess with respect to open manholes, broken and uneven footpaths and such tilings, one can walk and enjoy its advantages.