More….Reasons to Walk
Column #57, 22nd November 2008
In a few weeks we will discuss the holistic merits of running as an activity. We all hear that it increases health and fitness and hopefully the article will clarify how and when to implement it. However, for some of us running is not an option so today we will discuss some interesting reasons why walking is also highly recommended for health and fitness gains.
It almost sounds too obvious, so many of us don’t really regard walking as part of a training routine. In some respects this is true as it does not have the same effect on the body as going for a run, or strength training in a gym. However, as part of your whole approach it will subtly affect your health and performance levels. As we can also conclude for running, the key to walking is to be able to apply it to your training at the right time, for the right reasons and in the right way.
Reasons to Walk
Movement and Rhythm: All the systems in our human body, (circulation, lymphatic, digestion, etc) evolved in tandem and synchronicity with our ability to move. If our movement reduces so does the efficiency of these systems. Moving with free-flowing rhythm vibrates through the body and helps create harmony on many levels. The fact is that if we are sedentary in our job or lifestyle for eight hours a day all week, the body will stagnate. Consider what happens to a pond with no running water. Furthermore, there is no space for the organs to operate freely and no rhythm to create flow and energy and stimulate growth. Even five minutes at lunchtime will have a dramatic impact on your energy levels, mental capacity and overall well being. If you do have a desk job there is a huge difference between sitting for 8 hours in a row and 4 hours.
Breathing: Incorrect breathing patterns are very common and we will develop this in further articles. The Diaphragm is extremely influential and when dysfunctional it can be the cause of back pain, hypertension and digestive issues. Are you a chest or diaphragmatic breather?
Eyes: Our eyes and associated muscles benefit greatly from being outside, away from the close proximity of computers, books and televisions. The movement, rhythm, colours and distances could prevent unnecessary degeneration of eyesight quality. Has your eyesight recently reduced?
Electromagnetic: We all hear about the benefits of getting the right amount of sunlight. One interesting reason is that certain frequencies of sunlight are essential for detoxifying the blood.
Thoughts: A little time spent outside, away from work, deadlines and demands is certainly time well spent. A short walk a day will definitely bring greater mental clarity.
Capacity: I suppose that one of the greatest reasons to walk is that it can deliver benefits when running is not appropriate. This could be due to general physical condition, injury or phase of training, but all the above benefits and more will be in effect.