Shall We Walk

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Shall We Walk? by Pura Santillan-Castrence
This essay was written during the Japanese Occupation but it is as relevant today as it was then. I wrote an article some years ago on the benefits of walking. My automobiled friends praised the article politely enough, they liked it (at least they said so); the points were well taken; people should really walk more; it took someone like me to show in such graphic terms what could have been clear to everyone before… then they went on their morning-till-night automobile rides, increasing the size of their paunches and the number of their chins and illnesses… I must state, however, that I didn’t start to sell the idea that walking is the panacea of all earthy ills, not that one should walk from here to Tarlac if there is not truck available, not that rain or shine, in sickness or in health one should walk or else. But I did set out to claim that if milady has to give up once in a while her tricyle or carromata ride, she wil;l be one none the worse for the little exercise she gives her limbs. Walking keeps the form fit. It obviates bay windows, inelegant in men, unsightly in women. Walking puts into play painlessly and unconsciously, important body muscles. The leg muscles,obviously, are the ones mostly affected. But when the legs move they pull at the abdominal muscles, giving them the needed exercise which prevents their getting flabby and the abdomen’s becoming big and pendulous. The static muscles of the back, especially those around the spine, are put into movement, too, and this is essential in the maintenance of good posture. The arms also swing into motion as a natural accompaniment of walking. There are all manners of walking. The ambling walking of the absorbed lovers, while satisfactory from the point of views of giving opportunity for sentimental discourse, is not so from the point of view of exercise. From the latter viewpoint, a brisk morning walk is the thing. You need not even plan it as a formal program....
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