A brisk 20 minute walk every day could cut the chance of dying early.
In life in many an occasion, man’s action is prompted by something or other-external or internal.
This write up is prompted by a beautiful article in one of the leading newspapers dealing with the morning walk for health. One can easily see that it was written in a lighter vein only and yet it triggered a lot of thoughts in the serious readers and the result is this write up.
This author will be a centenarian in another twenty five years and he has a fantastic experience of early morning walks for the past seven decades exact!
Yes at the age of five, at 5’o clock in the early morning, a call will come from his disciplinarian father who was working as a Head Master in a school –“Subba” and “Sethu”- just once! It was in Karaikudi, Tamilnadu where we spent about twenty long years!
Me and my elder brother –three years elder- will wake up and follow our father for a morning walk of 4 miles irrespective of the season of the year from home to a Ganesh Temple with a large beautiful tank with water, passing through a lake! Again, evening walk we will have from 5.00 to 6.00 on all holidays for all the three of us or at least for my father and one of us.
While we were students in the college we had to walk up and down 8 miles daily in addition to our morning walk!
In those days at that young age especially in winter season, heart of hearts, we will be resisting the morning walk and yet we will not express it but go for walk very regularly. In fact that stands in good stead today at 75!
While in walk, in our own childish ways, we would have thrown a small pebble at a street dog as a prank and as soon as we get back to home, my father will ask me to get the cane and obediently I will hand over and he will give ‘a quarter caning’ in my palm and he will ask me why he canned me. When I plead ignorance, he will say that I stoned a dog which is not correct and hence the punishment! What is the ‘quarter canning’? Yes whether at school or home, my father as a teacher will give punishment of a slash for our wrong doings only with a cane and depending on the seriousness of the mistakes committed, severity of the cane will be –quarter, half, three fourths and full! Never he will give more than once and the FULL will be for a student who having left home will be absent for the school without the permission of his parents!
The habit of early morning walk that was formed in my fifth year of age continues even today at months past seventy five and I gratefully remember my father for the good habit that he taught us at that young age.
My father was not an Utopian or arm- chair philosopher but a practical person down-to- earth.
He had a noble death at the age of eighty seven in the year eighty seven. He used to tell my younger brother who was with our parents till their last days, that he will see his sons on 5th March 1987 or only his sons will see him on 6th March 1987! Yes on 5/3/1987 he had his morning and evening walks as usual and on the morning of 6/3/87 as he was coming down from his bed room in the first floor, a few minutes to 5.00 am, he sat down on the steps of the stair case and breathed his last! That is the noble death he had! Only we his first two sons saw him on the 6th March! Can it be because of his morning walks for eight decades!
Though he used to have his yogasanas regularly till his death including sirasasana, he advised me to stop asanas in my 65th year of age but continue morning walks till the end. Yes; I stopped performing yogasanas in my 65th year and continue my early morning walk till this morning.
I maintain this habit all along my life so far whether I was in a place like Bikaner where we suffer -2 degree and +50 degree temperature. My morning walks go on as exercise till this day and I hope to continue till my end!
I happily recollect my early morning walks all these seven decades plus!
Thanks to my benevolent employer I could have my morning walks in several parts of the country!
Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Maharashtra, Rajasthan…….
Days were there when I used to go for walk by 5.00 am to return by 6.00 am enjoying the pleasant breeze of the morning, enjoying ozone, listening to the chirping of the birds- barking of the dogs, observing the human, animal, plant beings! Normally day’s planning official and domestic work will be completed during the walking. Many poems and writings were born during the silent pre-dawn atmosphere! An example:
STRONG AND THE WEAK
Mother Earth, Happy Heaven
Ever ready in giving lesson
Till you learn and serve as one
To unite the world into handsome one!
Mother Earth a home for all
To live and love, help and serve
Make the people great and tall
With peace and poise well with a nerve!
Morning walk a tonic for health
Sure to add a lot of wealth
Wealth of strong will and wit
Time to think and plan nice to hit!
Pre-dawn walk a lovely mark
Ozone- the great, a nature’s stock
Crows and dogs grace the morn
Chirps of birds warm the heart!
Weak and strong, timid and bold
Part of the world from the days of old
Weak and timid die day in and day out
Strong and the bold live every day with joy!
Every inch of my early walk
Provides gleeful time happy to talk
Day early begun lasts for long
Plentiful time sure goes strong!
While on walk you get a lesson or two
That makes you wise and remains a tattoo!
A majestic dog looked at me
Strong and bold appeared to be
Scanned to find out friend or foe
Decided to stand, stare and not to go!
Another timid and weak
Unable to stand my sight quite meek
On my sight took to its heels
Out of sight peeped to kneel!
In my walk of fifty rounds
The timid made several sounds
Walking in and running out
Gasping and fretting in several bouts!
Strong one swept well to its heart
Weak one wept right to its last!
Man’s life no better than the dog
Strong sees the challenge leaves like the fog
Bold treats the problems as fun
Problems make the weak ones run!
As the official work was getting increasingly high, I had to start the day early and thus my morning walk started at 4.00 am instead of 5.00 am. How I do planning of my work was described once like this:
“In the conference of the Heads of the Branches, Division –in –Charge asked me thus: “How is it Subbaraman! That your estimation of new business for every month proves almost to be actual probably with a minor variation of 5% this way or that way, while the estimation of others’ vary very much, most of the times actual much less than the estimation?”
I had to tell my method of estimation thus:
“Always I do this probably on a daily basis during my early morning walk -4.00 am to 5.00 am when the mind is absolutely fresh and clear; it is based on the daily inputs that I get from my development officers and Direct Agents with whom me and my other officers on the marketing side, had a very pleasant relationship and rapport with the entire marketing team, control and monitoring. The result is we know at the end of almost each day, how much flow will be there next day. That precisely helped us to estimate for the month almost accurately”.
In my seven and a half decades of existence, I have spent more than a couple of years in at least ten stations in different parts of the country on employment- not to speak of several, several places I have visited for a week and more on my personal visits or official visits. Everywhere, I could find a nice place to have my early morning walks comfortably.
In three stations- Coimbatore and Salem in Tamilnadu and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh- it was in the nearby college play grounds. In Bikaner-Rajasthan- it was from my home to Nagnichi Temple.
In Ooty it was round the lake.
In Madurai it was around AnnaNagar.
Since 1998 from coming to Chennai on transfer from Kadapa, morning walk I take in our own spacious colony. Above quoted poem titled STRONG AND THE WEAK was the experience in the present colony where we are now. The colony developed a beautiful walking/jogging ground a few years ago and since then my morning walk is in the track. Here is an extract from an article I wrote under the caption “IS IT PECULIAR OR UNIQUE?” something pertaining to morning walk referred:
“It is his habit to take his morning walk between 4.00 am and 5.00 am. Fortunately in his colony, there is a walking track measuring 271 meters and laid with 6 tiles. He used to take 12 rounds and he walks each round in one tile and naturally he will be walking two rounds everyday on each tile in seriatum! He strongly believes in multiple operations – simultaneous operations- a nice strategy in time management-. He will be chanting prayers- 8 manthras- in these twelve rounds- 4 of them in two rounds and the other four each round!”
(Reference to he, his, him etc is to this author)
Of late in the last few months, as I have to devote some time immediately after morning walk on my blog work, I have ADVANCED my MORNING WALK to 3.00 am and I return by 4.00 am!
Starting earlier-5.00 am to 4.00 am to 3.00 am – not that I don’t get sleep all right!!!!!!
Man is not infallible; when I don’t get up in my appointed time in the day, first victim is MORNING WALK and the next is GOING TO TEMPLE at 7.45 am!!!??? But I ensure that they are victimized only very rarely!
A few tips for correct method of walking as an exercise:
- Walk briskly.
- To the extent possible have walk alone and not in the company of friends/relatives.
- Don’t talk to any one else while walking.
- Keep lips closed.
- Let us not make exercise walking as just that walking while window shopping
- Walk continuously without break.
- One need not be very sensitive to have a track suit, canvas sport shoes etc.
Do you know how I go for my morning walk these days. I go in my dhoti folded up-to the knee level and a banian ( vest with arms) on and a pair of normal leather chappal! That is all!
Is it that MORNING WALK really helps in keeping good health? Doctors say, books repeat, people say- is it then just a FAITH or BELIEF? May be but the fact that by HIS grace, I am not suffering with any serious, major ailments may be taken as an indication of the worthiness and the efficacy of the morning walk.
Before I close, I give below a set of health benefits that I have enjoyed in the last seventy years of my morning walk:
1.It is great to start the day.
2.It freshens up my mind.
3. It counts as a physical exercise especially after my 65th year when I stopped yogasanas as advised by my father.
4. It helps manage stress.
5. I get a lot of time to plan my day.
6. It helps in not getting into dementia as age advances.
7. I feel quite energetic all through the day.
8. It helps improved appetite.
9. It helps to stay fit.
10. It helps in maintaining my weight I have been weighing around 64 kgs for more than 40 years.
11. I get good sleep in the nights.
As of now, my only prayer is, just like my father who had his morning and evening walk till a day before his death at the age of 87 in the year 1987, I must also enjoy strength sufficient to continue my morning walk as I am accustomed to since my fifth year of age.