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Why Walking Is A Workout For The Mind too

11/01/2016 8:21 AM IST | Updated 29/08/2016 9:40 PM IST
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Walking is like meditation. It helps to focus the mind on a subject. Many people enjoy going for walks with friends or family, but for me, walking alone is the best for some quiet contemplation.

Walking helps your brain's neurons to fire better and faster during a long walk. Walking is natural. One does not think about it. Yet during long walks, the exercise of the body helps in release of chemicals which enhance thinking. Hence long walks allow the mind churn out ideas and crystallise them. Thus, walking is not only good for the body but also for the brain.

When the mind is thinking very deeply on a subject then the external scenery does not matter. During my younger days I used to go for 6-8km-long walk in Lucknow and my path passed through congested thoroughfares like Hazratganj . Yet, I was never distracted by the noise and the din of the traffic or the crowd. One can easily be lost in one's thoughts during long walks.

Throughout the history of mankind, major ideas have come to leaders while walking.

Some of my best ideas and thinking have come while walking. Very often I have not taken notes which I have regretted because the power of ideas without jotting them down on paper vanishes like thin smoke.

Throughout the history of mankind, major ideas have come to leaders while walking. Great scientists like Einstein, Niels Bohr and others took long walks in the forest and thought up great ideas in physics. Gandhiji honed his ideas of salt satyagraha and independence movement during the Dandi March. Likewise Mao Zedong did it regarding his vision of China, during the Long March. Similarly the great musical compositions of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky also came during their long walks.

Walking anywhere is therapeutic but in the woods it is spiritual. It seems that trees act as antennas for getting higher spiritual thought and walking among trees helps to increase the power of meditation and hence the production of great thought. Besides, greenery provides balm to the eyes and food to the soul.

Walking is just as therapeutic for the body. According to studies the world over walking is good for us because cardio-vascular exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness. It is also good for the bones and helps boost blood circulation.

Doctors also claim that walking helps to drain the lower legs of excess fluid and can help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles. And recent studies have shown that walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running.

Most parents tend to focus only on sports for their children - but while sports are good for the body they do not allow reflective thinking...

I feel that the habit of walking should be inculcated in children. If they walk either to school or to other places it will be good for their body and brain. Most parents tend to focus only on sports for their children - but while sports are good for the body they do not allow reflective thinking since one has to be alert during play. Children should also be educated to minimise their use of the cellphone (either to talk or to listen to music) as it's distraction from thinking.

Today, we seem to be losing the art of walking. The modern transport system has made us lazy. I often see young students either getting on two-wheelers or waiting for a bus even when they can easily walk to their destinations. They're not doing a service either to their body or mind. Indeed, they aren't helping the environment either. If more people walked, there'd be fewer vehicles on the road and, therefore, less pollution too.

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