Everyone is doing it, except you.
Stop for a second, does this sound familiar?
You’re alarm goes off and you struggle to get out of bed, you get ready for work and them climb in the car/jump on the bus/squeeze on the tube.
You sit at your desk for the next 8 – 12 hours and then maybe if you are not too tired pop into the gym on the way home and go through the motions. On the way home you pick up something quick to eat and then flop on the sofa until the earlier hours before falling into a dreamless sleep in bed.
What if there was one thing you could do to change this? What if it was the easiest thing for most people?
This pattern is reflective of most people I know (including myself for a long time) We have stopped using our bodies, instead we forget how to move or that we should move until we are reminded us via a back ache or dodgy knee.
Walking is the most basic of human movement patterns we are built with long limbs to aid us in walking and big leg muscles to propel us forwards. Our bodies made from a complex system of muscles, bones, joints, fascia and ligaments all designed for locomotion. For most of us we never really walk, maybe a short stride to the printer or a stumble home on a night out but for the most part we are sitting in the car or on the sofa.
Walking is a great form of gentle exercise, if you are here because you are looking to lose weight or get fitter and need a place to start then walking is for you. If you are an athlete or gym addict then walking is also for you.
Now before you think I am crazy let me tell you about something that happened a few weeks ago; I was out with my mother who is in her early 60s, I watched as she wandered alongside me this woman who is one of my favourite people who has never exercised more than a day in her life. This woman who always considered the gym a “place other people go” that exercise was only for fit people and she wouldn’t fit in. My mother who is like me in so many ways except when it comes to her health.
My mother has stage 4 arthritis in both knees and sciatic nerve pain, so when I say wander what I mean to say is that she moves like a speeding bullet because if she slows down the pain is overwhelming. Walking for her is a frustration her own body getting in the way of her freedom to do things. The ultimate betrayal.
Stubborn as she is she will carry on stopping for a sit down only when it gets too much. You see she wants to keep moving for as long as she can. This is what struck me: if you can move then you should move. If you can prevent degeneration of movement then you should try.
Two of my favourite areas of interest are around Neuroplasticity and exercise, and Primal movement. Now I am sure there will be many more posts to come on those but for now I would ask you to do this…
Its free, its low impact, if you are not walking for a 150 mins over the course of a week then start slow and build up. We are aiming to be feeling warm and maybe a little out of breath but not so your heart is racing.
Athletes this is the perfect active recovery and is better for you than running due to foot strike pattern and impact on the hyaline cartilage of your joints.
If you are struggling to fit walking in the consider these tips:
One day a week walk to work
Skip your normal bus stop and walk to the next one.
Use the stairs instead of the lift.
At lunchtime grab a colleague and do two laps of the building
Leave the car at home for the weekend.
Borrow a dog or go for a walk in the woods with friend
Walking meditation is a great stress reliever.
“ If a medication existed which had a similar effect to physical activity, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or a miracle cure.”
Sir Liam Donaldson, The former Chief Medical Officer of England