Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Walking; the most under-rated exercise.

 I was fortunate to grow up in a small town where we walked: to friends, to the park to play, ice skate, for concerts or picnics on the grass.  I also walked several blocks to school, a good thing for many reasons, such as; focusing the eyes on sights at various distances, (great for vestibular functioning & eyesight) enjoying nature, trees, the sky,  fresh air, and using systems of muscular integration to propel the body forward and remain balanced.
Humans were meant to walk. Walking is one way our body resets it's natural alignment.  It is weight bearing exercise, and it calms the mind. Walking is natural movement that involves moving all of your muscles and tissue, increasing metabolism, lubricating the joints, increasing blood flow and oxygen to all the cells of the body, nourishing our physical being. It energizes the body, as well as relaxes the mind: walking can even be a meditation Walking can also be calming for the emotions, through appreciating beauty, nature, fresh air, sunshine, rain, seeing the people of your neighborhood; all this can lift your spirits.

Even if you are very “active” if you are not walking regularly, you may not be resetting the body in an important natural way.  

In the past, (and for many people of the world, still today), our bodies were the primary tool of sustenance and survival, we used them with care and awareness.  Sedentary wasn’t an option.  Now, the many conveniences of modern life: cars, furniture, sit-toilets, TV, computers, cell phones, are not helping our health, in fact, they are making people less mobile, less flexible, less connected and less aware.  

It is a challenge to maintain healthy, activity habits in modern western culture. Creating time and following through with exercise, may mean letting some things go, in order to make time to nurture personal health and peace of mind.  Notice how your thoughts, self-talk, beliefs, activity and lifestyle affect starting and continuing your walking regularly. Notice who are your allies for healthy Living. Having work-out/walking buddies/partners increases success; who could be your buddy?   
Most of the people on the planet would be astounded to observe how very little walking a modern person, in many cities in the USA does.  The bits of walking are mostly to and from a car.   In a time and society where poor diets, excess weight, obesity and sedentary lifestyle are creating disease.

 More than once recently I listened to conversations between young people (early-mid 20’s) talking about shockingly numerous ailments, medications ,and procedures, which hadn't brought relief.  More than one said "I wish I was in shape to exercise".  I wondered if they knew a walking program was a possibility.

 I work with older people (70’s up to 102 years old) some who don’t spend any time talking about ailments and medicine; because they are busy living the life they have left and most of them don't have as many "ailments" as these young people!  These elder people have a sense of purpose and commitment to life which is strong: a contributing factor to a healthier life and aging process.

It is with-in your power to change this whole paradigm of sedentary lifestyle for yourself. Starting with a good daily walk, 30-45 minutes; it is sound, healthy, preventative medicine.  It is that simple. (I didn’t say easy- breaking habits, starting new habits isn’t easy) Yet, who knows, after this is a habit, you might find yourself doing yoga, maybe even dance, or taking a long hike, running a marathon, doing a triathlon, but for now, keep it simple.                   Namaste, Christina


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