Physicians and physical-fitness buffs seem to have unshakable faith in walking as an exercise, offering numerous health benefits to people of all ages under well-marked levels of their fitness. Their prescription, as simple as walking for as short as 30 minutes in a day is receiving appreciable response nowadays by all cross-sections of society, particularly in urban spaces, unarguably a welcome sign, despite the unstoppable expansion of vehicular population, not excluding the rural regions. Bicycles, which tended to virtually become extinct during the recent past decades also seem to be staging a come back, thanks to measures such as Trin-Trin facility introduced in Mysuru. The civic authorities too have pitched in to promote the walking habit in the citizens by creating exclusive track for walkers on some stretches of roads and also lakesides. However, the condition of footpaths on the roadsides continues to be inhospitable to walkers, particularly senior citizens, not to forget the risk of getting knocked down by automobiles while crossing from one side of the road to the other.
The land’s philosophers and luminaries of the spiritual world are known to have walked tirelessly singing lyrics of their own composition and delivering discourses several centuries ago, among whom Adi Shankara (eighth century) stands out. Maybe, absence of automobiles and motorable roads to commute compelled them to resort to walking, unlike their counterparts of our time, who are jet-set.
While a typical urban resident working in various professions including the leisurely office-goer is known to disfavour walking due to many compulsions of city life, a typical home-maker is known to walk several kilometres in a day, the entire distance covered within the four walls of her dwelling. The home-maker, incidentally, is a living proof of the validity and utility of the recommended 10,000 steps-a-day, contributing to extend the life span with the added reward of staying healthy. Studies carried out under expert guides have shown that active people have lower incidences of cardiac problems, Type-2 diabetes and also obesity.
Preferring to reach places within city limits by smoke-emitting automobiles over walking seems to have given the point of polluting air a big miss. The morning scene near many parks of Mysuru, namely walkers taking to automobiles to commute from their homes, seems to mock at the indisputable prescription of walking for staying healthy as well as extending life span.