How Walking is Good for Body and Mind

Walking is like meditation. Thus it is not only good for the body but also for the brain.

Walking is like meditation. It helps us to focus the mind on a subject. Lot of people go for walks in the park both in the morning and evening either alone or with various friends, family and acquaintances.  But I feel long walks alone and without any company are the best to think and contemplate various issues. 

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.

Walking helps in jiggling your brain neurons and they 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 enhances thinking. Hence long walks allow the mind to think and churn the ideas and crystallize them. Human beings evolved to walk; running came only to get away from predators and danger. Thus walking is not only good for the body but also for the brain.  

During my younger days I used to go for 6-8 kms long walk which passed through congested thoroughfares of my city Lucknow but 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. 

When the mind is thinking very deeply on a subject then the external scenery does not matter.

Throughout the history of mankind major ideas have come to leaders while walking. Great scientists like Einstein, Neils Bohr and others took long walks and thought up great ideas in physics. Mahatma Gandhi honed his ideas of Independence from British Rule during the Dandi March and so did Mao regarding his vision of China, during his Long March. Similarly the great musical compositions of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky 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.

I feel that the habit of walking should be inculcated in children. Very often concerned parents force their children to play all sorts of sports. But walking is an excellent sport and if they walk either to school or to other places it will be good for their body and brain. Besides sports does not allow reflective thinking since one has to be alert during play.  

Nevertheless we should educate the children so that their use of cellphone either for listening to music or conversing during walking is minimum. Both these are distractions for thinking.     

We seem to be loosing the art of walking.  The modern transport system has made us lazy.  Very often I have seen young students either getting on two wheelers or waiting for a bus even for short distance travel when they can easily walk to their destinations. Besides increasing their chances of getting obese they are also losing out on the art of thinking deeply about issues.     

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