✅ Walking is great because it is a natural human movement free of constraints which helps the body function better thanks to the beneficial effect of gentle, steady muscular contraction in combination with gravity.
✅ Walking is a way to move our whole body in one set of rhythmic fluid movements, involving many parts.
This is the theory.
❌ However, walking doesn’t happen smoothly when our bodies are shaped by our sitting habits. Think transport, cycling, taking baths, sitting on the toilet, sitting at a desk.
Main effects of excessive sitting: hamstrings and calf muscles that cannot lengthen, rounded shoulders, forward head, tense neck, hip muscles which don’t keep the pelvis stable, lumbar spine stuck in flexion.
Walking doesn’t happen smoothly when our feet behave as dictated by the shoes we wear - stiff, narrow, heeled.
Main effects of wearing ill-fitting shoes: toes that can no longer spread, flex and extend, stiff foot joints, shortened plantar fascia, pinched nerves, hallux valgus, bunions, hammertoes, weak big toe that can no longer initiate a posterior push-off.
Having said that, walking as nature intended can be re-learnt!
It can take many months, years even, to undo the damage inflicted on our bodies from our very first shoe or car ride, but at least it is possible!
And it starts with a change of mindset:
bouts of exercise, in whatever form, does not replace daily movement. If we want movement to benefit our health, we need to stop relying solely on classes and workouts and welcome movement back into our lives. This can mean giving up some of our favourite conveniences and comforts, which may be quite unpleasant in the short term but will restore our body's natural ability to move, function well and repair itself as designed by nature.
If you want to find out how you can restore lost strength and mobility and ensure many years of movement in your future, feel free to get in touch.
All set to move better in my 50s than in my 40s and 30s!
Mum of 4, nature lover, passionate about the power of human movement.