IT WAS HIPPOCRATES, considered to be the “Father of Western Medicine,” who said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” Over many, many years there have been lots of proponents o f walking. Henry David Thoreau tells us in his book Walking, that he walked four hours a day and always toward the wild south southwest.
Bonnie introduced what she called “the art of walking” in her 1960 book How to Keep Slender and Fit After Thirty. She included walking in all her workshops as a way of using all the muscles in various ways so that it was not only effective, it was fun when done with music. If you are stuck in the house, use the Walk Series below.
In Teenage Fitness, she notes that walking is simple, unless you can’t – and if you can’t it becomes as important as seeing or hearing or being able to hold someone in your arms. She knew all about not being able to walk because she fractured her pelvis at age 23 and was in a body cast for three months.
“The person who never walks has a dimension missing.” “Walking is like love; it has to be approached slowly, carefully tended, not barged into, overdone, or one-sided.”
Further along she suggests that early morning is a great time because the colors are softer, the smells are fresher, and nobody else is about cluttering up the bird songs with a commercial racket. As you walk along, use every obstacle for both exercise and for the improvement – it will contribute to your other physical skills.
“ Fences are plain, natural balance beams and just asking to be used.”
Until recently however, books about walking have not included scientific reasons as to why we should walk. Two books which I have found extremely interesting and helpful are Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being by Thom Hartman, and In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration, by Shane O’Mara. Not only are they interesting, they are practical and easy to comprehend. Both note the connection of the brain and rhythmic bilateral movement of the arms and legs. Walking enhances every aspect of our social, psychological, and neural functioning.
As the Shane O’Mara press release says:
“Walking, for example, frees our hands, unlocking the ability to carry food, weapons and children. It has allowed us to throw, to creep, to gather up, and to disappear.”
Water walking was introduced in 1986 by John Spannuth who founded the United States Water Fitness Association. http://www.USWFA.org.
For those who have trouble walking or who are recovering from operations, water offers a safe and productive way to enhance balance, strength and flexibility. And as Bonnie suggests, walking backward in the water uses the leg muscles in a different way, with gluteal and hamstring muscles doing most of the work and the resistance of the water helping to develop t hose all-important walking muscles more quickly.
Bonnie was a great advocate for Aqua-exercise. She used it daily and said, “After myotherapy, after operations, warm water relaxes muscles and allows one to defy gravity and establish or re-establish rhythm forgotten or blotted out.”
Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School reports that “…walking can help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and even keep your memory sharp. A short post-meal walk can lower blood glucose levels.”
“For many, the purpose of walking is just to get out of the house and relax.”
“Exercise is a communication between the body, mind, and spirit.”
“Feedback from the feet and legs monitor your progress without help from thought unless you are in difficult terrain.”
“Walking improves leg strength and circulation. Walking improves the muscles, aiding in heart action.”
Whether you decide to walk alone, with the dog or with others, in the mountains, woods or water, on the trails, beach, or up and down the stairs… WALK. Your body and brain will be happier for it.
If you have questions or need help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help.
Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®