Having found my gusto for exercise back for the past few months, I have found newer relish in my morning walks, barring the constant tug of war I play with dog shit. A neighbour friend introduced me to a path less beaten, not too far from where I live, to break my normal concrete walking routine. It leads to a quaint countryside type of a setting with hutments and people going about their morning duties; let’s spare the details shall we?
And it is on one of these walks that I noticed a small little girl brisking with her school bag, obviously to school. Every time I went for my walk, I would see her making this hike to her school. One day upon further inquiry she told me she was only 6 years old and in 1st grade and that she walked alone to her school which according to the location she described to me must be about 1km from home. This meant, she walked at least 2km any given day, apart from all other chores she must have to undertake in her household.
While my daughter who is all of 7 and many others her age and beyond, fret even to walk to the school bus stop! Why this aversion to walking? Why don’t we walk that much anymore? My maid and many other blue collar job holders walk a lot any given day, so is walking an activity only for the poor? And many such questions were playing tug of war in my mind.
Walking, the most basic human activity is slowly becoming alien to us, due in part to urbanization, cars parked right under our nose, uber/ola at your door step and of course technological advancement where one is not required to walk to the bank, grocery store, or even to hail a cab. Some might shrug and say, not entirely true. Well, do we need statistics to tell us that we are not walking enough? Ok then here it is; a recent study by Stanford that reveals Indians are amongst the ones that hardly walk.
And if we hardly walk, how can we expect our children to follow in our footsteps? No, not the walking to the car, to the parking lot, in the mall, to the bathroom and kitchen or to charge your phone kind of walking but conscious walking for the sake of just that!
If you are still with me on this post, then congratulations, it just tells me you are determined to make some changes in your life and of those around you. And here’s how we are going to do it
Every Step Counts
Make every step count by doing the following-
Walking while talking on the phone with your bestie or heck even the boss
Walk rather than driving to the local grocery store, dropping kids to a class nearby
When at a mall, park the car farthest away from your entrance; take a longer route to the store at the mall
When in office again, park the farthest.
Go hail a cab or an auto sometimes and if you must, get Uber/Ola a few blocks away from your pick up or drop off point and walk the extra distance.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder and walking makes it stronger
So let’s work on both of these aspects. Start maintaining a distance from the things you love to do until you have walked enough to earn it.
For e.g. I love die to eat something sweet after every meal, but now I abstain until I have completed my morning walk.
One is fun but two makes it woohoo
Having a walking buddy makes walking all the more exciting. It keeps you focused and regular. And when the walking buddy is on sick/study/couch potato leave, a good pair of headphones and some music will ensure that we keep at it.
Be your own beck and call
Stop asking your kids, wife and husband to do things for you like, getting the phone, a glass of water, the TV remote or even fetching the morning newspaper. Get up and do it yourself.
Encourage Kids to Walk
If you walk, they will. It is that simple. Well actually not really, we will have to do more than that.
Walk them to their class, bus stop (provided it’s walking distance) and prepare a story to tell or play a game while walking
If you think they are becoming the couch potato you once were, make them your beck and call
Just a couple thousand extra steps can go a long way especially with our increasingly sedentary lifestyle. About time we realize that walking is not just mere exercise, it is a necessary part of our life. Let’s stop flirting with a sedentary life and get walking.
PS: Oh and if you are techie enough, I would like to propose an app which when downloaded on your phone inactivates the wifi until you have walked a certain number of steps a day. Now that should get not only us but also our children walking, don’t you think?
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