Almost everyone knows that walking is good for their health, and is a wonderful source of cardiovascular exercise.
However, you can use your walking time to learn about your body and help it to function in a better, more comfortable way.
• While you walk, pay attention to the sensations on the soles of your feet (high heels and shoes with stiff soles make this task very difficult). Feel your weight shifting from your heel to the toes. Do your toes push off the ground with each step? Do they spread out? Walking with mindfulness about the soles of your feet can turn an ordinary stroll into a foot massage if you really let all of the joints and muscles in your feet move!
• Also pay attention to how your arms move when you walk. Are you holding tension in your shoulders or chest that would prevent them from gently swaying with each step? Do you keep your elbows tightly bent and pump your arms with unnecessary force? Think about letting your arms swing in a relaxed, natural way: your whole body will thank you for it.
• Where do your feet go when you walk? Do you take each step far out to the side, or in a tight line, one in front of the other? Both of these walking styles make keeping your balance more difficult. The more energy you spend trying to keep your balance, the less walking you can do. Practice walking with your feet right under your body in a neutral pattern, and you’ll see your energy grow in leaps and bounds.
by Christine Washburn ACSM CPT/CIFT, M. Ed.