“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is best.”
Thomas Jefferson (US president)
What an accurate statement by Mr. Jefferson! Walking is in fact a type of exercise which energizes the body. Needless to say, you can’t get big muscles by walking alone.
How does walking make you feel energized?
When we are sat down, there is little movement of blood compared to when we are walking which makes blood get transported to all parts of the body. The heart beats slightly faster and pumps more blood. Your breathing increases and more oxygen is carried to the muscles. Digestion increases too as the body converts food into energy to fuel the walk. To summarize, walking stimulates the body to produce more energy which in turn makes us feel invigorated.
Why is walking the best invigorator of all?
Walking requires little effort and engages nearly all major muscles in coordination, all leg muscles (hips, quads, hamstrings, calves, etc.) as well as a lot of muscles in the upper body. For example, the abdominal and back muscles (erector spinae in particular) keep the spine upright when walking. The arms and obliques move rhythmically to assist the body in moving forward. Walking is the best invigorator of all because unlike any other type of movement it requires very little energy (compared to running, cycling or weightlifting) yet it involves multiple muscles groups in the entire body.
Do you know something that’s easier and more invigorating than walking?
If you know about a better invigorator than walking, please let me know in the comments below. I thought of yoga but yoga comes in various types and poses some of which are quite hard, for example the crow pose and handstand. Although yoga engages numerous muscles in the entire body, walking is still easier because it requires less strength and energy. Even the easiest yoga poses such as Tree Pose, Downward Dog or Warrior 1 could be challenging for an old man who’s still able to walk and get the full benefits of walking.
Try walking meditation!
I recently discovered that walking helps me manage my thoughts better. When walking on my own without listening to music, I can feel my thoughts flowing peacefully in and out of my consciousness. They come in a structured way, wave by wave. My mind seems to be organising itself as I move forward. I highly recommend walking meditation. Try it! Go on a solitary walk if you ever feel overwhelmed by negativity.