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solo figure walking in yellow shadows

Walk the Walk

healthy living life pillar of health

Questionable habit by your partner that annoys the crap out of you but later turns out to be a good thing? Check.

Let me explain...

Whenever the hubby and I would go shopping he'd park far, far away from any other vehicles and I'd have a bit of a whinge. (his reasoning was that our car would be safer if it was isolated)

Now I realise that instead of getting fed up I should have been encouraging him to park even further out in Woop Woop.*


Photo by Lesia Gant

 

Remember movement is a Pillar of Health. And, here's the deal, and I'm sure you won't be surprised, turns out walking is good for us but generally we don't do enough of it. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Figures for 2019 link it to as many as 3.2 million deaths. 


"When you walk on the earth, you must know that one miracle walks on another miracle."
Mehmet Murat ildan

Yes, the earth's a miracle, you're a miracle too, but hey so is walking. Consider these fun facts:

- Looks like walking started underwater with some air breathing, hopping fish!

- A walk of 15 minutes can reduce sugar cravings.

- The length of your toes (as well as springy muscles and tendons) are designed for propulsion.

- It's estimated that you use 200 muscles while walking.

- Research show walking boosts creativity.

- Walking sideways burns 78% more calories than walking forwards (let's hear it for inefficient movement, lol).

- Walking 5-6 miles (8-10 kilometres) a week may prevent arthritis.

- The 10,000 steps a day was a Japanese marketing campaign from the 1960s. Three brisk 10 minute walks a day are actually better for you.

- Heard of Afghan Walking? It's breath conscious walking which synchronises your steps to the rhythm of your breathing. This focus leads to meditation, reducing the effort needed to walk faster and longer.

- The average age a baby learns to walk is 11 months and guess what? All of us learned to walk by failing, falling, and then getting back up again. (There's your mindset mantra for the week - embrace failure!)

Walking Is Good For:
Physical Health - move your blood
Mental Health - get out of your head
Social Well Being - walk with a friend
The Economy - take less sickies
The Environment - take less car rides
Plus It's Available To Most People
And It's Free!


 So, here are my tips to get the most out of your perambulations.

Breathing:
I always try to coordinate mine with my cadence (see Afghan Breathing above) For example, in for three and out for three or in for four and out for four, depending on how fast I'm walking. For me it’s almost as if I get a song in my head that coordinates my steps with my breath.

Nose or mouth? It’s recommended to breathe in through the nose to filter out crap in the air (and not swallow flies, lol). Years ago I did learn that you should try to exclusively nose breathe but found it super hard. I tend to do my Pilates version: in through the nose and out through the mouth except when I get tired, then it’s definitely mouth breathing all the way!

Your Core: Lightly holding it in is fine but too much will inhibit your breathing and lock down things that should be moving so only lightly lift up your abs. Eventually you want to not think about it and just trust that your body will move efficiently.

Technique:
Think about pushing off your back leg instead of leading with your front. You’ll turn your hips on including your glutes. Focus on this and your spine will be where it needs to be i.e. not leaning forward. If you lean then your neck is going to cop it.

Make sure to try to feel that you’re rolling through all of your toes on the push off - see propulsive toe design above :)

Do not tuck your butt in and under, instead think of your pelvis doing a slight figure 8 because when you walk it's meant to tilt and rotate.

If possible don't carry anything. Your arms should swing loosely in opposition to your stepping so your spine can rotate, this is one reason why we can walk in a straight line - remember no John Wayne, Pardner!

I also have to watch wearing cross body bags that sit on the back of one hip as well as always having my doggo Charlie on the same side of my body when she's on her leash. These both lead to asymmetries that can give me back/hip/abdominal tightness.

Alrighty, out you go into the wilds to walk yourself to better health!

Hope this inspires you to lace up those walking shoes!

Be well,
xBec

*"way out Woop Woop" is Aussie slang for a place very, very far away from anything - like in the middle of nowhere.

 

The opinions expressed and contained above are provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice. Rebecca Forde & Dragonfly Pilates & Movement disclaim all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this post. 


(cover photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, social photo by Andreea Pop ) 

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