One of the positive things to come out of lockdown is that many people have fallen in love with walking. This is great news. Because walking might be the single best thing you can do for your health, wellbeing, and performance. Doing it is the key. But doing it right opens the door wide.
Health is a complicated thing. Your current state of health is the sum of countless different factors, including genetics and decades of daily habits. So, improving your health is a challenging task because you have to adjust many different things.
Human nature dictates that we’re always on the lookout for a simple solution. It’s why we tend to gravitate towards pills and supplements. They’re easy. Unfortunately, as you all know, there is no simple solution to better health. There is no magic pill. But there are certain behaviours that contribute more than others. And at the top of that pile sits walking.
Why? Because walking improves just about every aspect of health. Here’s just a few things walking does:
- Reduces body weight and improves body composition
- Improves fitness and reduces blood pressure
- Reduces chronic lower back pain
- Reduces depressive symptoms
- Improves creativity
As you might expect, the higher the volume and intensity of walking, the greater the benefits. Walking outside and walking in groups may also provide an extra health boost.
But perhaps the most important thing to focus on is how you walk.
That may seem like a strange thing to say. After all, bipedalism is the most important evolutionary adaption in the history of hominids. We’re born to walk. Surely, we do it perfectly without thinking about it?
Next time you’re walking down the street, observe other people walking. You’ll notice that some people walk effortlessly, almost gliding along. While others lumber, or shuffle, or trudge. The reality is most of us have forgotten how to walk properly. We did it perfectly as toddlers, but then our modern environment of comfort and convenience robbed us of that natural bipedal ability.
Walking is the foundation of human movement, of human health, of human fitness. Relearning to walk properly will make that foundation stronger. Much stronger.
In a two-part series of videos, I’m going to teach you how to walk. In this first introductory episode, you will assess your current walking gait. What sort of walker are you?