Walk Your Way to Health


This week we marked World Health Day.

And walking is my trusted route to good health. It is the only exercise regimen that I have been able to stick to. And I have tried several:

  1. Swimming: Tried about 15 times, but could not manage to learn.
  2. Gymming: If it was not the traffic, it was complete mismatch with the age of the people around. Never feels good to up the average age of a room single-handedly.
  3. Cycling: Oh, the ups and the downs! My muscles ache and my breath doesn’t hold
  4. Exercising at home: I can find an excuse a day after the first three days, to not follow the regimen.

So walking it has been for the last 25 years and more—starting from long before the obsession with counting steps. About 50 minutes of brisk (hopefully) walking every day.

The Mayo Clinic assures me—and I believe them–that regular brisk walking can help me:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Improve mood
  • Improve balance and coordination

And in these days of lockdown, it is still a possible form of exercise. It not only helps the body, but just the act of getting out of the house into the fresh air and seeing people even if only from afar, definitely contributes to well-being.

Maybe the lockdown will help walking become a lifelong habit for some. But for me, it was the peer pressure of ‘walking with a friend’ that worked. My friend Kiran and I decided at some stage to walk every morning at 6.15 a.m. on the IIM-A campus. The very thought that the other would be standing impatiently at the gate if one was late, was enough to get us out of bed and out the door most days. And if we did not, we had to be pretty inventive in coming up with excuses.

But for many years now, I have been walking by myself. And my trusty companion is my XONE music player. This is something I picked up at the Vizag airport over five years ago. This is a nifty little device—headphones with built in storage, with huge capacity and no wires. It seems to be developed in India. I think I have about 1500 songs stored. The battery lasts me a week on one charge. People who see me walking regularly jokingly ask if I have ears, as this is always glued to my ears.

So find a way to get yourself into the habit of walking, and find a way to stay hooked! While I may not go so far as to say ‘My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god’ (Bruce Chatwin), I will swear by walking for a sense of all-around well-being.




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