A Walk A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Ila Das

© Copyright 2020 by Ila Das

Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash.
                           Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash

With an impressive weight of 70 kilograms stacked in a frame of 5 feet height, my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) does not speak of an attractive figure. By figure I mean both, the physical and the numerical status. It puts me in the frustrating obese category, a category which everyone hates to be in. In this age of fitness freaks, what am I doing? Having a sweet tooth does kill all my dietary restrictions. 

I do order for clothes in the XXXL size to be on the safe side as most online shopping orders generally do not go down my body comfortably, most of them get stuck at waist level, thanks to the extra rolls of tummy flesh drooling out. 

While actually shopping in stores, the salesmen stare at my figure from head to toe as if x-raying me and ask whether I am buying for myself. Fortunately since I mostly wear loosely fitted clothes, I do not visually look too fat. Only I know, where the attire is going to be trapped. Also I feel too lazy to stand in the long queue at the trial room and hence just select the size that visually looks appealing to me. Just so as not to embarrass myself I cleverly tell them it’s a gift for another acquaintance who is on the healthier side. 

How to admit that if Roxane Gay would meet me, she would classify me as “Lane Bryant fat.” Wish I could donate my thighs and the not so attractive bulging biceps that can put Mr.Universe in shame, to charity. Even if my front profile in mirror to some extent defies my physical stats, my side contour throws everything away with the space it consumes.

I may have cut on carbs, eliminating the boring roti and chawal from my routine diet, but it is more than made up by my heavy binging on crinkly bags of chips, loads of chocolates in all forms and kinds and giant slices of pastries oozing with extra sweet toppings.

I hate beaches, only because I cannot hide my flawed figure here. The presence of other angelic slim figurines only adds to my resentment.

The lone next alternative is to exercise. Walking is considered as best form of exercise where your entire body is in mobility. In one of the doctor’s workshops that I attended in office, the right method of walking and optimum duration of walking was elaborated. It was said that walking is effective if it is done at a comfortably fast pace, swinging the arms to the extent possible while walking. Ensure the ground is even and flat and wearing correct gear is important too. The doctor had specially instructed to wear loose clothes and sturdy sneakers. According to him walking regularly on a daily basis for a minimum of twenty minutes is enough to bring a considerable change in your health.

I myself preach to my sons to walk in natural environment instead of doing the treadmill indoors so as to intake fresh oxygen from environment in the process and gain double health benefit. An environmental philosopher John Muir rightly said “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” 

Preaching is easier than practising. When it comes to practise, I have a thousand excuses not to do so. The first and foremost being, I start from home at 7 am for my office for which I get up at 5 am to get ready and reach back at 7 pm after a hard day’s sedentary work gruelling with my computer centric job. When do I have time for walk? My soul corrects me, you can walk in the evening. I educate the spirit within, plants photosynthesize in the presence of light. During the process of photosynthesis, plants breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen thus enriching the environment while at night it’s the other way round. With no light available at night the process of photosynthesis is replaced by the common human breathing process when the plants take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide thus making the environment unhealthy to walk in. Pat on the back for so much knowledge.

Soon I was finding myself surrounded by all walk talks on TV shows and office workshops. I decided to give the dreadful a fair trial on weekends, which override my ‘lack of time’ excuses on typical working days. First week, after my domestic help finished her routine works, I decided to step out at around 7am. I selected the nearest ground for my first rendezvous. Oh my God! I was surprised to see so many people walking, though mostly forty plus. The younger troop perhaps heads to the gym.

Being the first day and a Saturday, I decided to just do three rounds of the circular ground that may perhaps calculate to a distance of half a kilometre multiplied by three. Not bad for starters. On my way back home, I bought vegetables from the vendors that swarm the area making good business early mornings. 

Next day, Sunday, the gaggle had almost doubled, some gaunt but most on the corpulent side. I was wondering that if the latter were regularly walking, how come they still retained the fat. Never mind. Why start my walk regime with negative thoughts.

I noticed a pleasant orange tinge to the sky with the otherwise powerful sun rising on a mellow note, as if wishing everyone a wonderful day ahead. The ground was beautifully adorned with colourful flowers on its periphery which I never noticed when passing the path daily on my way back home from office. The recognizable scent of lilies wafted from round the corner. How do birds get up so early? Their chirping made the environment more musical. It was like me communing with nature. 

It took me around twenty minutes to complete the rounds but during that period I found my mind eliminated from all the detritus that would have otherwise stressed my daily office routine. The brisk walk in close proximity to nature did help me work through the rest of my monotonous weekend domestic chores smoothly.

Since then I have continued with my tryst with walking except for some vacation or lazy weekends where I linger in bed for more sleep. It’s been six months now, not that I have lost weight but yes my annual medical check-up report showed some positive changes on the cholesterol front. 

I don’t prefer to join any walking groups because I find that restricts my pace of walking as I then need to adjust to the pace of the group. Also sometimes I find that the groups who walk past me tend to indulge in gossips and I really do not wish to be a part of it early morning. Hence I prefer walking as a solitary soul. I tried to plug my ears with some music but I found that diverted my mind from the process of appreciating the beauty of nature in its various forms and kinds.

I keep myself motivated by selecting a different route every month, to see new parks, new people and new things that nature has to offer. I have also managed to increase my time and added a sprint routine for a few intermediate rounds to increase my heart rate and sweat the extra calories out of my system. I manage to incorporate walking habit in every WALK of my life by parking my car at least a kilometre away from my destination, avoid the service of office boy catering to everybody with tea and snacks on everyone’s desktop as his duty. Instead walk my way down to the canteen.

Come new year and my resolution is to take part in walkathons and also start walking in the evening. After all walking is free, easy to execute and is the best tonic for a healthy life style. No wonder a walk a day keeps the doctor away. 


I am a profession Engineer, with creative personality, having dabbled in acting, music and voice over. 

Simplicity of narration and portraying real life situations with women centric characters in a lucid language is my forte. I love dreamy romantic stories and heart-warming tales that make me believe in wonders of life. My themes generally include women's issues.

My short stories have been featured/forthcoming in ‘Bethlehem Writers Roundtable’, ‘Abstract: Contemporary Expressions’, ‘The Book Smuggler’s Den’ and ‘Trivia Mundi’.

Her book ‘O(h)FFICE’ is available at:



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