Walking is Medicine - Taking ourselves for a walk.

The Camel Trail, Wadebridge, Cornwall

Walking with purpose and observation is one of the most immediate ways for us to feel more ourselves and to reconnect with our bodies. Is it possible that we underestimate the simple and humble aspects of life?

Walking is an activity most of us take for granted and undertake every day to get us from A to B, but is there a way of walking that can offer us more support?

Many of us are somewhat sedentary and not walking as much as we could, and our bodies can show the signs of this inactivity and sitting down for long periods. Along with this we are often preoccupied, thinking about things and can arrive at our planned destination, be it work, the kitchen, the garden etc without being aware of how our body is moving.

Have we given the magic of our balance on our feet a second thought, or been aware of the rhythm we move in and posture we hold, or considered that the way we walk has a big impact on how we feel?

When walking we have all no doubt experienced rushing and trying to race time, carrying too much and weighing ourselves down, setting our sights on a destination without enjoying the journey, getting caught in our thoughts or having slumped shoulders….how about considering what happens when we keep choosing these habits….is it possible that our habits develop the posture we have and that our posture corresponds directly with our moods and emotions?

Can our posture and how we hold and move our body impact on how we feel and even how we view life?

Take a moment to observe your own posture. Is it slumped, tight, bent over, hips locked? Are the knees stiff, jaw jutting forward? Our habitual postures and movements offer us an insight into our emotional well-being as well as our overall health.

When we make space to simply walk to connect with our bodies and ourselves rather than walking to get somewhere or do something, walking takes on another deeper quality. A short walk with no bag, no destination and no time schedule can offer us a valuable window into how we are feeling and how are body is going. Breathing gently to allow ourselves to reconnect and being aware of any tension in the shoulders and/or how our hips feel etc, enables us to regenerate and restore ourselves.

Observing our walk can be a barometer of whether we are busy in our heads, how we have been treating our bodies, and the type of emotion or energy we have been choosing.

Can we offer ourselves a few minutes every day to walk? Be it around the block, down the street, or through the woods, the location is not critical. It is the purposeful choice of walking with ourselves, with the intention of body awareness and observation that is the key.

At the clinic we often recommend that people who have back pain, stiffness, anxiousness and postural issues make a walk part of their self-care routine.

This can happen on a regular basis if not every day to loosen up the muscles and connective tissue, support the circulation and lymphatic systems to flow, re-align posture and to reconnect to and appreciate the body.

Walking with care, awareness and purpose is medicine in itself.

It is simple, free and yet deeply supportive. The choice to really pick up on the messages the body shares and be more aware of the postural choices we are making, can make a huge difference to our general health and well-being.

Walking with purpose is all about observation and refinement. Are we aware of any tension, or landing the feet in a hard way, having locked hips and knees, whether the arms are flowing or rigid, is the head leaning forward or do we have racy breath?

In refining our movements we can open up our shoulders, loosen up our arms, raise our head and neck straight, breathe gently through the nose, roll our hips and walk with awareness in the present moment. No need to rush, or go in slow motion, or push hard, but find a rhythm that truly supports your whole body.

Many of us have some space in the day over the Christmas period, so why not wrap up, step out, observe your gait, feel your feet touch the ground, check in with your breath and enjoy bringing a more purposeful and observant quality to your movements.

If you are looking to bring something into life for 2018 that is sustainable, supportive and can improve your overall health and well-being, walking is the way forward.

Look out for postural awareness workshops, exercise & movement classes and more blogs like this in 2018. Find out more by contacting us and subscribing to our mailing list.

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