Walking as an exercise? What’s that about? Many studies say walking is the absolute healthiest exercise. But walking is completely egotistically non-appeasing. You might be wondering, what are the benefits of walking?
In my culture health is constantly associated with an aesthetically pleasing body. For women, this means a slim and preferably hourglass figure and for men a V shape with obvious and hopefully striking muscularity. The body of an athlete is often associated with health (yet has nothing to do with health). Walking will not get me that body or into that outfit two sizes too small and walking will not grow my bicep bigger than my head so it looks like I can crush people with my bare hands, so what is the benefit of walking? Walking is not cardio, it’s not dynamic and it doesn’t produce any sweat. There’s no exhaustion or fatigue or even much of a challenge, what the heck? How will I measure my progress? My culture taught me “no pain no gain” and “more is better” and progress means more! Walking offers none of that! If I were to embrace the benefits of walking I would need to be more dominated by my wisdom than my vanity and there is nowhere in my culture that supports that!
It’s been said there is not an opinion you can have that is yours. Our opinions and judgments come from our parents, media and culture. Like most everything else my opinions and ideas about health and fitness have been shaped by all that I’ve witnessed. As a matter of fact, modern psychology states the more one sees something, the more one believes it even if it is false and absurd. So, in the case of health, my ideas and opinions have been programmed into me by my culture. Unfortunately, due to the capitalist nature of my culture, my culture does not always have my best interest at heart. Even when my culture does have my best interest at heart, it can make mistakes. A culture is simply a sum of its parts and those parts are evolving incessantly learning and growing as more information is acquired.
Maybe these cultural messages have been well meaning but they are partially if not totally wrong! Let’s have a look: We’ve been told “no pain no gain”. Have you considered that pain is your body asking you (in the language of sensation) to please stop? Maybe we should have been told “no pain no injury”! We have been told “more is better.” This is probably why my culture leads the world in destroying the world. Have you considered “more” is unsustainable and is also the same as “not enough” as they are both extremes? How about instead of “more” we look for the “right amount” which actually could be less and certainly is personal. The right amount will always be personal as our bodies are a unique by-product of our genetic lineage and life experiences. Have you considered that “progress” is made not by acquiring more but by discovering the “right amount” which will always be changing according to the multiplicity of things that are affecting us.
The benefits of walking are it doesn’t satiate our vanity, it satiates our body. Walking is not sitting doing nothing and it’s not beating ourselves up running. It is a moderate and gentle activity. Have you noticed the universal law that states “the harder you are on anything the faster you destroy it”? All healthy relationships thrive within gentleness including the relationship we have with our bodies.
It’s easy to get excited about the latest and greatest trends, from Cross training to CrossFit to Circuit training to high-intensity interval training to ultramarathons to triathlons to powerlifting. But at the end of the day, regular brisk walking gets you most, if not all of the way there—“there” meaning a long and healthy life. This is the main conclusion from the June volume of the prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), a special edition dedicated exclusively to walking.
Another study, published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, examined nearly 140,000 men and women in the United States and came to the same conclusion of the benefits of walking. Engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of brisk walking was linked to a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.
Thanks for reading! Check out the other articles in our Absurdity Series.