Walk the Road for Rogmukt Bharat

Post By Director NIN


Way walk when there a wheel? 

One of the humanity's evolutionary concerns is: Why do humans walk on two legs when we have four limbs, and our ‘ape’ friends seem to get along well on all fours, so what makes walking on two legs better? Or, if it's not better, why do we do it at all?

Researchers taught the five adult chimpanzees to walk on treadmills. They walked upright on their hind legs and knucklewalked on all fours. The chimps wore masks that tracked how much oxygen   they used. The researchers also measured how much pressure was exerted on the treadmill. This revealed which muscles  the animals were using. The same measurements were taken for the four adult humans.

The walking tests showed that, the humans used 75 percent less energy walking upright than the chimps used walking on all fours. Essentially, walking upright seemed to be beneficial because it saved energy. The experiment's results illustrate how energy expenditure contributed to human evolution. However, in an advanced civilisation conservation of energy is leading to many problems. The present predicament is how to spend energy efficiently as the consumption patterns and styles have undergone a metamorphosis. Thus, there is an mismatch between energy consumed and energy expended leading to a plethora of non-communicable diseases. These NCDs are sapping money, time and efficiency of the person, family and society; ultimately, the humanity as a whole.  It is realised that to bring in walking in to our life will address the above conundrum as the health benefits narrated below can be accrued by this simple measure. 

  • Walking can help burn calories, thus can be a good measure for tackling metabolic disorders including obesity. 
  • Walking at least 30 minutes, five days a week can reduce risk for coronary heart disease by about 19%.  Taking a short walk after eating may help lower blood sugar. (Diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases contribute to the major disease and death burden)
  • Walking can help protect the joints, including knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints.
  • Walking may reduce risk for developing a cold or the flu. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43% fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.
  • Walking boosts energy. Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the happy hormones that help elevate energy levels.
  • Walking can help in mental health. It reduces anxiety, depression, and negative mood swings. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
  • Walking at a faster pace could extend life. Researchers found that walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20% reduced risk of overall death. 
  • Walking can strengthen the muscles in legs. 
  • Walking may help clear head and help think creatively. A study that included four experiments compared people trying to think of new ideas while they were walking or sitting. 

Gandhiji called walking as the king of physical exercises. It was primarily those long walks, he said, “kept me practically free from illness throughout my stay in England and gave me a fairly strong body". According to the available records Gandhiji walked approximately  18 km a day, i.e. 22,500 steps every day, for over 40 years. He had also covered a total of 79,000 km for his campaigns between1913 to 1948. This is equivalent to walking around the Earth twice, Earth’s circumference being 40,075 km!

Prof.(Dr.) K.Satya Lakshmi

Director, NIN

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