“But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.”
As summer temperatures begin to decrease, we can go out for a short mind-clearing walk, enjoy a brisk walk with a friend, plan a family hike on a friendly trail, or take the kids for a fun exploration of the park.
Walking can range from gentle, meditative to daily errands to rigorous and fast-paced. It’s great for prenatal/postnatal health and fitness. It can also help ease labor pains and help bring down the baby for birth. It is a wonderful, healing activity for mothers just starting their postpartum recovery and return to movement. It’s a great opportunity to practice breath work and kegels to gently strengthen the ab and pelvic floor muscles.
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to prevent discomfort and injury.
Besides the pleasures of the fresh air, sunshine, natural scenery and stimulating our hearts and breathing, walking is one of the most accessible activities; it has the lowest dropout rate for exercise. And it provides countless benefits.
“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” 1841
Walking is a reminder to get out of that car! Our bodies need to move themselves on a regular basis to function properly. The original purpose of movement is not to achieve an image at all costs but to survive and thrive in nature as a physical being.
We need to walk often to engage and strengthen our glute muscles which work with the core muscles—standing alone will not do it. Excessive sitting causes glutes to become inactive and weak. In a healthy state, they provide stability to the body and keep our movements effective while helping to prevent injuries such as back strain.
To ensure that you’re engaging your glute muscles, place your hand on your glute as you take a step. Feel it tense a bit when you touch the ground and tense up with a “pushback” when you push off for another step. Squeezing each glute upon footfall further engages and strengthens them.
Research has shown the benefits of walking and just moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day…
Reduces the risk of:
- coronary heart disease
- breast and colon cancer
- type 2 diabetes
- blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Maintains body weight
- Prevents, reduces depression
- Reduces joint pressure
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Benefits for the brain include:
- Slows mental decline
- Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s
- Improves memory and logic in seniors
- Cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents
- Boosts creativity in the young and healthy
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness, into my best thoughts…” ~Søren Kierkegaard