‘Either this is your first time in the park or this is not your usual time’ I said to a young man I met at the park in the morning. ‘Yes, you are actually right, it is in fact my first time’ said the young man looking surprised. He threw an expected question back at me, how do you know? I said I don’t have to struggle too much to arrive at the conclusion, it is elementary, my dear Watson! ‘It has been good number years that I am a regular at the park and by that reason I happen to know all the faces that land up at the park in the morning. No one can tell me any lies, you are sure to get caught.’
From the look the man projected, I could make out that he had taken enough care and made efforts to get himself all the necessary gear to undertake a morning walk. Frankly speaking, it was a pleasant sight to look at since normally most of us would never care to buy appropriate as well as branded gear or make any special arrangements to get on with the daily ritual of morning walks. I find some morning walkers such a horrible sight as if they had just been thrown out of their beds directly into the park. It is sad if this describes your state of affairs too. Most of us undertake ‘morning walk’ as a perfunctory activity and treat it so casually that the idea of spending money on buying something more appropriate does not enter our head. Further, most of us drop out of the activity after a few days either for lack of motivation or paucity of time in the fast-paced life. While others drop out since pleasing results do not show up as per their expectations. Therefore, we hardly realise the importance of appropriate clothing and other necessary gear in the first place. We dont even recognise that these are needed at all! Most people do not pay any attention to what they wear, neither the clothing nor the shoes. In fact, both are worth giving due attention and a careful consideration since you would be walking a no less than a few kilometres or may be an hour every morning, even a slight misfit or misaligned shoes can cause muscle stiffness and cramps. It can also lead to foot ache that can become so bad that walking normally may get impeded due to damage suffered by the foot muscles. So, first thing that you should do before getting started on the regimen is to buy yourself a comfortable pair of shoes, slightly loose-fit T-shirts and shorts (track suit in winters).
[ Also Read: Why is maintaining a healthy lifestyle so important? ]
Rarely have I seen a person walking alone on morning walks. The importance of having a company cannot be stressed more. You could be a lone walker if you are in the habit of using headphones. The reality is that if you are a lone walker, the chances that you will run out of steam and give up walks altogether, are much higher. So, find a partner who can give you company, like I did. The morning walk group that I am a part of comprises 5 people. What hardly matters is that all have different dispositions, traits, personalities as well as avocations. What matters is that all are die hard walkers and have been in the habit of taking morning walks for years together. In the group, there is one member who is superstitious, having fixed perceptions and opinions. He displays all sort of orthodox behaviours while walking and I find it obnoxious that he forces such behaviour upon unwilling companions blatantly and brazenly as if it gives him some kind of pride that inflates his ego rather than seeing it as an undesirable and a perverted practice. One particular act he resorts to, is that he never walks in the anticlockwise direction in the park, even if the larger group is walking in the opposite direction. A simple courtesy demands that a lone person should give due respect to the bigger group and join them. He prefers to join them only on one condition that they all walk his way. Probably he considers walking in anticlockwise direction a bad omen that might bring bad luck. Therefore, to save himself from supposedly uninvited and undesirable consequences, he walks in the clockwise direction. Do you also resort to such behaviour? From what I generally see, most people walk in clockwise direction while only a few walk in the anticlockwise direction. As for me, it is a simple decision supported by some science and logic. I try to walk in a direction opposite to most walkers. This way I get to see their happy faces rather than sore assess. Also, when they see me approaching head on, they make room for me to pass otherwise I would never get a pass if I approach them from behind. Further, this friend of mine I am talking about, would stop in the tracks if a black cat crosses the path and lets others walk past to break the curse. It surprises me that in today’s time still there are some people who are superstitious to the core. For whatever harm they would suffer, such people will always blame the poor cat rather than the external environment or their own selves! I ask them how did they come to believe in such superstitious practices and what would they teach their children? Same orthodox values, won’t they? I being open minded and a non-believer of such archaic practices choose to give them company anyhow, walking clockwise or anticlockwise, does not matter to me at all. I tell them, walking in the anticlockwise direction will not bring any harm, bad luck or loss but your deeds will definitely do. Hearing my words, they get irritated and then beg me to alter the topic of discussion to a neutral and a more peaceful and conducive one. By now about 40 minutes have elapsed and just 20 more remain.
There is a playground at the far end of the park where children play cricket and football. Since, it has no green cover, a lot of dust gets eroded and fills the air around the area. I normally choose to avoid it and ask my companions to avoid it too by taking a detour. I tell them that I am allergic to dust and as soon as I inhale, an allergic reaction starts that leads to running eyes and nose that lasts for days or even weeks. I keep well as long as I avoid exposure to dust. My superstitious friend does not pay much heed to my request and continues to walk on the predestined trajectory and through the dust. I give my companions a duck where the playground begins and regroup with them on the other side. My friends tell me that I always cut corners and never take complete rounds during the walk. I tell them that their reasoning does not stand on firm ground as I too walk full 60 minutes like everyone else, no more no less. They understand the point I am making and tell me, its elementary, my dear Watson!