Legs And Lungs
   Date :10-Sep-2023

Experts of human anatomy and physiology are of the opinion that legs and lungs occupy special significance in our physical system. Legs are our base which supports our body and ensures its movement. Legs playavery important role in all fight and flight situations. In the evolutionary process legs have played very important roles in history. Evolutionary scientists opine that the most used body parts are the legs. Whatever part of the body we use, legs provide support and strength to augment the power of that organ. So in a fight the fall of the person leads to his defeat. That's why we find lots of proverbial statements about legs– when the leg does not walk, the stomach does not eat. There is lots of medical evidence about fast degeneration of body parts in case legs of a person are immobilised and he is not able to walk. Movements and exercises of legs help in secretion of many good hormones in the body specially testosterone which is essential for overall growth and energy. At the same time leg movements ensure better and more absorption of oxygen in our body. That is the reason that one feels very fresh and energetic after walking, jogging or running. Before the advent of motorised age, leg movements were very intensive. People used to cover very long distances on foot. So legs were very strong and sturdy.
But in the modern age extensive use of motor vehicles, lift, escalators, etc has reduced leg movements to great extent. Hence legs are not getting adequate exercises leading to adverse impact on the ecosystem of the body. In Indian tradition even today there are lots of religious practices where devotees walk on foot even if conveyances are available. Jain monks do not use motor vehicles. During Shr a v a n ( r ain y ) month, there is a very popular tradition of Kanwariyas w h ere Hindu devotees cover very long distances to offer the water of the holy river Ganges on the Linga of Lord Shiva. Most of the temples in villages are away from human settlements so that people have to walk and offer their prayers to the deities. Most of the important pilgrimages are present in mountainous areas orin jungles or on river banks. In lots of religious traditions there are rituals of circumambulation. So devotees have to walk on foot and indirectly they are deriving lots of physical and mental benefits. In Maharashtra there is a very popular and pious tradition of Waris or religious processions attached to Lord Vithal of Pandharpur. Devotees cover hundreds of kilometres on foot to pay their obeisance to Lord Vithal.
During my two years tenure as Assistant Superintendent of Police, Pandharpur,Ihad opportunities to interact with lots of devotees about their walking on foot during the Wari procession. Many of them were of the opinion that covering long distances on foot had a very good impact upon their physical and mental health. It issaid by expertsthat lungs play the most important role in psychophysiological health and longevity. The air which we breathe oxygenates our blood and this oxygen is the fuel of our cells of the body. The deoxygenated blood is brought back to lungs for purification by carbon dioxide. Thus it is necessary to maintain oxygen-carbon dioxide ration in the body for proper functioning of the respiratory and circulatory systems in the body. The adequate supply of oxygen is provided by lungs to all organs of the body fortheir efficient functioning. Any defect in the function of lungs leads to deficient oxygen supply, triggering the degeneration of all parts of the body. Hence any problems in lungs shorten the longevity of patients. So in order to have good health and longevity, we need to strengthen our legs by adequate movements and exercises and lungs by aerobic and breathing pranayama techniques.
(The writer is DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)