One of the earliest challenges toddlers tackle is learning to walk. How do they do this? By mastering the art of ‘putting one foot in front of the other!’ So, you see from an incredibly young age, nature gives us the most effective strategy for staying healthy, i.e. walking. Simple, right?
Unfortunately, over time the human race has developed unhealthy lifestyles, primarily influenced by so- called ‘progress’. In the West & Northern Hemisphere, lack of physical activity has resulted in chronic diseases, leading to more than 1 in 10 deaths per year in the UK.
Yet, incorporating walking into one’s daily routine couldn’t be simpler. It is about small steps, remember: small hinges swing big doors! One of the most effective approaches to adopting regular walking as part of your lifestyle is to think of this in the same way as brushing your teeth, first thing in the morning and at bed time. No decent individual would leave home and set out to start their day without brushing their teeth first.
The trick with establishing and sustaining a very healthy lifestyle is consistency and perseverance in being active, eating well, moving more and getting enough sleep. When walking -brisk walk, don’t dawdle! When eating- eat, not watch TV, deal with emails or Face Book -this way your body will tell you when you are genuinely full. Walking is good for you, and brisk walking or power walking can reduce risk of long term health conditions e.g. cancer & heart disease.
Power Walking is brisk walking at a fast pace that you can still have a short conversation, but you shouldn’t be able to sing. Power walking also corrects posture by following a few simple rules:
- Stand up straight.
- Be relaxed.
- Look ahead.
- Swing your arms, in time with your stride.
- Breathe deeply, preferably in time with the steps you are taking.
- Your steps should be heel down first, before landing on your toes.
- Power walking maximises on the benefits of exercising outdoors.
- Natural vitamin D – proven health benefits especially in relation to arthritis.
- Fresh air – is free and gives added benefits!
Power walking is absolutely great for weight management. It is best to install one of the specialist Apps to track your progress. In my Vitality Power Walkers Group, the 4 of us have achieved over 200lbs weight loss in less than 6 months. Daily Power Walking is superb at helping with bone & muscle pain. It also enables better sleep for those inflicted with arthritis –and good at making everyday tasks more manageable and easier to carry out.
Power walking enables us to connect with and appreciate nature, our local community and appreciate the natural world.
I have been gratified by the number of individuals who have connected with me over the last 6 months in particular, simply by them seeing me power walking at a brisk pace, every morning come rain or shine – in the oldest park in the area of London where I live. Lammas Park is steeped in history which I was completely oblivious of until I started my power walking regime. The following give a glimpse of the history:
The park is named after the original use of the land as Lammas land where tenants of the manor could graze their cattle following harvest. In 1881 some 23 acres were purchased by Ealing Local Board when it was feared that it might be lost as open space; compensation was paid to those who lost their rights. Lammas Park opened in 1883 and was subsequently extended west to Northfield Lane by arrangement with the Elers Estate, and a lodge was built at the new entrance. By 1907 there were 2 bowling greens, shelters for the bowling club and cricketers, and a ‘tea chalet’ for those playing tennis and croquet, with 19 lawn tennis courts and 4 croquet lawns by 1911. The park once had a bandstand and over 50 flower beds, mostly removed by 1958. In January 1949, a small War Memorial was erected by the Boy Scouts near the South Lodge entrance. More recently, Lammas Park regularly wins the Annual range of national awards for green spaces, for several years in a row!
Power walking makes best impact once this is an integral part of an individual’s daily habits and daily routine. Power walking is best done outdoors, ideally in a leafy park if done in a city or green meadow, better still power walk in the countryside or woodland.
Exercising outdoors, in the fresh air clears your head – you leave home – head fizzing with issues – you come back home a different person.
As one of the members of Vitality Power Walkers said: “Power walking helps me clear my head, re-centre myself – I am not the same as when I first set off – I invariably feel so much better – lighter in mood and lighter in step.”
Nature is the best medicine!