May physical activity bring benefits to our body by giving us psycho-physical wellbeing it is well known by now. From the dietician to the physiatrist, from the cardiologist to the geriatrician, even the psychologist, all agree in recommending the practice at least half an hour a day of movementeven at a moderate intensity, integrating it into everyday life.
Who among us has never tried to make good resolutions aimed at inserting perhaps a good and healthy walk among the daily habits? Or a improve the way you walk? All could be answered, but… Sometimes it can be easier said than done!
In this regard, here are the questions we will try to answer in this article:
Why don’t we walk?How to walk correctly?What are the types of walking?What is everyone’s way of walking?How to enjoy the journey?
From saying to doing: why don’t we walk?
When it comes to physical activity, the reasons why you end up not doing it are many, but the first is the lack of time. Family and/or work commitments loom in their absolute and inevitable categoricalness; but sometimes these aren’t the only alibis we hide behind.
There are many improvised walkers who, initially endowed with good will, they give up at the first difficulty: the main reasons that cause their yield are to be attributed to problems related to the route, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath, etc…
The answer to all these impediments lies in the fact that, without realizing it, sometimes we walk wrongly. On the surface it would seem obvious to walk correctly but, although it is a natural and automatic action, we often carry out this activity without following the basic rules.
So let’s try to clarify things together, overcoming hesitations and prejudices but adopting all those precautions useful for transforming our walk from tiring into pleasant and relaxing.
Walking correctly: a valid aid to safeguard our health
Discover or, better still, rediscover the pleasure of walking every day it helps to give an extra gear to our day; whether it’s in a city park or at home, along a country path or on the seafront.
Look round, meet friendsbreathing deeply can only improve our mood, allowing us to achieve satisfactory results in terms of well-being, compared to a more intense but occasionally practiced sport.
If we then consider that our daily walk can take place independently and in any spare time, we can safely say that we have the ideal formula at our disposal, a real prodigious panacea for our health.
Does the way you walk matter?
At this point we ask ourselves the following questions: does the way we walk make a difference? Can it negatively or positively affect our health?
Assuming that the action of walking doesn’t just involve the legs but affects all the muscles of our body and some areas in particular, such as:
the feet;the spine and pelvis;arms and related joints.
It goes without saying that it is almost obvious that we do not all walk the same way!
The percentage of discomfort affecting the back, joints and beyond (the list is really long) are often attributable to incorrect posture or gait caused by other types of joint problems or previous injuries.
If your walking isn’t balanced, the rest of your body will follow. Think of a ripple effect: walking incorrectly can create unnecessary tension in the rest of the body, poor posture and symptoms such as joint pain and feeling tired.
In the long run, it could even cause the permanent suspension of your walks, as they are experienced as a painful annoyance!
Now is the time to start incorporating positive walking habits in our daily routine.
Types of walking: Gait is subjective
How many times have we happened to say or hear ourselves say: “I recognized you by your gait!” That’s right, each of us has a strictly subjective style of walking, since there are many variables that influence our gait.
Industry experts say there is a close correlation between walking and determinates behavioral characteristics; in practice, carefully observing a person walking reveals to us, albeit in an approximate way, some traits of his personality.
The gait, like other signals that our body sends, has great communicative power and allows us to interpret emotions and intentions.
The identikit of the walker
Let’s try to trace, summarily, based on the technique used, a sort of nice “identikit” by analyzing the most common walks:
the pessimist he is the one who walks slowly looking at the ground and dragging his feet;the emotionalon the other hand, has a firm step with a rather wide stride and strong foot support.the self-confident person he walks with his back straight and his gaze forward. who often looks upwards with a sprawling gait, often stumbling, is undoubtedly a creative and imaginative looking for sources of inspiration person full of himselfwho loves himself and places himself in such a way as to be the center of attention, has a “strutting” posture. Anyone who walks with swaying his pelvis is definitely an individual outgoing.the shyon the other hand, expresses little security and self-confidence and proceeds almost on tiptoe. Finally, the controller: if you should encounter a subject who walks with his arms behind his back, know that this is a typical attitude of those who inspect and supervise.
Naturally, these attitudes that differentiate one person from another are often nuanced and not necessarily conscious, precisely because they express everyone’s personality.
How to walk properly while enjoying every step?
Each person walks in a way that characterizes them and with the techniques they deem appropriate. Regardless of the types of walking (some are more common than others) there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to getting around.
You could practice the fast walk in the various ways that distinguish it, or simply walking while looking at the night sky; window-shopping on a lazy Sunday afternoon or determinedly marching forward.
In short, each individual finds their own pace and your own speed, also depending on your needs and the context.
Regardless of your age or life situation, taking the time to appreciate walking in the various modalities is sure to bring you joy and help you find a special bond with yourself and why not, maybe even with yoursyours life partner or with friends.
The rules for walking well: tips and mistakes to avoid
Constancy, regularity, tenacity, harmony: these are the aspects on which to focus our attention, without paying attention to them the benefits of our healthy daily walk could be nullified.
So let’s go and specify, in detail, where to focus our attention so that our efforts can give the desired results.
1) Let’s start with position to maintain: many back pains are caused by the “drooping” posture: bending the shoulders downwards causes tension in the muscles of the upper part of our body, therefore the head should be kept straight with the chin up and the shoulders brought back. The body should form a vertical axis perpendicular to the surface on which we walk. This position also decreases the pressure on the diaphragm which will inevitably improve our breathing capacity. In this regard, a good solution may be to use the sticks and nordic walking.
2) Fai swing your arms: In addition to engaging the muscles of the upper body, it will help you make your stride more efficient and give you more momentum in your walk. Also in this case, sticks, perhaps trekking poles, can help. How to use them? Let’s see it in this video:
3) Fai stretching before and after walking and gradually increase stride speed and/or distance. Buy shoes for walking comfortable with flexible sole that give stability and comfort. Also the clothing has its importance, choose the one most appropriate to the context, in technical or natural fabric; this will guarantee the correct fluidity of your movements and will always keep the body temperature constant.
4) Do not favor perfectly flat ground to walk on. Choose always different surfaces and gradients it urges the lower limbs and spine to adapt to sudden changes in the terrain, thus allowing our body to exploit all its functions. Whenever and wherever possible, you should try to walk barefootin order to obtain countless benefits, such as:
strengthen the foot muscles; rediscover the natural balance; improve blood and lymphatic microcirculation, preventing swelling and varicose veins.
5) Follow one proper hydration e diet. Walking involves a waste of liquids and mineral salts, so maintaining a good water level becomes essential. Water is undoubtedly the first source of hydration, but part of the requirement can also be met by consuming foods with a high liquid content such as fruit and vegetables or by drinking energy drinks.
6) Make sure your feet are pointing directly forward, focus on heel first, keep your gaze forward (but still checking for bumps in the ground) and keep your arms close by swinging them naturally and at a relaxed pace.
7) If you wanted to try your hand at one more challenging testyou could consider making some stops in the Via Francigenaone of the many Italian routes or perhaps a legendary route of the Santiago’s walk as the French Way.
In short, with a little practice (and some inevitable bladder on your feet!), you will soon walk optimally and with great satisfaction.
Leaving your footprints on the road
The greatest genius in the history of mankind, Leonardo da Vincihe said:
“Rarely falls who walks well”.
Although these words can also represent a metaphor, in our context a similar statement can only strengthen our beliefs about the benefits of walking.
If we think about it, apart from certain categories that are unable to do so for health reasons, it’s not such a big commitment to fulfill. Technically, even half of the steps could be enough, but the really important aspect is to take advantage of every little opportunity that presents itself to walk.
An hour’s walk at a speed of 4 km per hour burns between 100 and 200 calories; in fact, in countries where people walk more, the obesity rate is lower than the average. For track your steps and maybe, why not, increase the desire to do them, it could also be useful to keep track of your steps with awalking appsso as to set goals for each session.
As always, the advice is to listen to your body, without exceeding. Good walk!
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