Walking can be a pleasant experience

Walking can be a pleasant experience

Walking is something that, as an adult or young person, we do without even thinking about. However, though walking is a necessary thing, in many cases, we can get along quite well without walking, at least, not walking long distances. So, we ask:  What Is A Long Walk? 

Let’s see if we can define the term ‘long walk’, OK?

Survival Without Walking, Can It Be Done?

In most of the so-called, industrialized world, the average person can survive everyday activities with only walking a few hundred yards throughout the day. Perhaps a bit more, or less, depending on the days activities.

Transportation is a means that we use that takes away the “skill” of walking. Taxi, bus, car, truck, bikes, motorcycles and so on. With those advantages, people choose to not walk, much to our own personal detriment.

Often times we are “forced” to walk because me missed the bus, the train, the car broke down or perhaps we’ve gotten a flat tire. In those cases, we MUST walk.

On the other hand, there are many pleasant places that we can walk and at the same time, give the kids a great place to run around and “burn up some energy.”

Not a "Long Walk" when you are entertained by the kids!

Not a “Long Walk” when you are entertained by the kids!

But, What About The Kids?

We’ve all heard the fantastic stories of our parents or grandparents. You know, it goes like this: “When I was a youngster, I had to walk 5 miles to school every day, in two feet of snow, summer and winter, uphill, both ways!”

Now, we know that is not possible, that is, to walk the same road, summer and winter in two foot of snow, or both ways and be going uphill in either direction. A bit of a stretch would’t you agree?

What is it that they are trying to say?  Kids today are just plain lazy!  If that is so, what about us as parents?  What are we doing to set a proper example?

Simply put, we need to set the example.  A very simple way to start is by walking or perhaps bicycling along a pleasant and interesting trail.

 

Well Adapted To Walk…

If you’ve ever watched a baby learn to walk, you know that he/she will continue to struggle in order to gain that ability.  Then when they do take that first step, we, as parents or one who is watching, will give them praise and laugh in delight.   So, why can’t we enjoy walking as adults?  Well, we can…

Benefits Of Walking

Evidence shows that walking “exercise” can help older ones to improve their cognitive (referring to their ability to remember and knowing what is going on around them) abilities. Especially is that recognized by the medical field with those that have Alzheimer’s.

By those daily walks, it has been shown that one’s health improves and longevity  in our usefulness continues for many more years.  Especially for individuals over the age of 70.

Have you ever “forgot” how much you’ve “forgotten?”  A regular walking exercise, can and does, improve our abilities regarding, remembering things.  Not only remembering each day, but even in the long run of things.  Memory naturally improves.

And what about some health benefits?  Both men and women will benefit from brisk walks done on a regular basis.  Daily is usually best.

What Is A Long Walk ?

If we are walking for exercise, do we need to go for miles?  Not really.  In fact, according to “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” they state :   “Accumulating 30 minutes of brisk walking in short, 3 minute bouts is equally effective in reducing  ………  systolic blood pressure as is one continuous 30 minute bout.”

In others words, if we do not have the time to walk for 30 minutes, one time per day, we can break it down into shorter, but more brisk walking episodes throughout the day.

Children who walk to school, play outdoor activities, after school sports and so on, are usually in better shape than those who do not engage in physical type activities.  The same is true for adults.

All In All, Walking Is A Healthy Activity

You know yourself better than others.  So, do you walk or not?  Before ever engaging in any type of physical activities if you’ve not done so for some time, always be sure and check with your physician before doing so.

Types Of Walking

Pole walking

Pole walking

A long walk does not seem so long when done with poles.

A long walk does not seem so long when done with poles.

When we think of walking, often times it’s that ‘leisurely stroll’ that comes to mind.  You know, it’s that walk that we take when we go to the mailbox to pick up the mail.  It also comes into play when we are doing any type of shopping, say, in the grocery store, the mall, or looking for a new or used car.

Even a leisure walk can be beneficial exercise, if done correctly.  As we walk, be sure that our legs are straightened out, not locked, but extended to a straight position.  Allow your heel to lightly touch the ground, then make a smooth transition to the balls of your foot.

However, be sure to  NOT  be slamming your heel into the ground as if trying to make a hole, but just ever so gently allowing your heel to touch, then allowing your natural forward momentum to shift your weight to the ball of your foot.

You can also tighten those glutes as you walk.  Each step can be an exercise in itself.

Walking uphill is also a great exercise.  Try walking up a series of steps or a stairwell several times.  You’ll see which muscles come into play immediately.  When out of doors, try and imitate that same stair stepping walk when walking uphill.  Start with allowing the ball of your foot to touch, then mid section, and sometimes, your heel to touch fully on the ground.

But how about walking downhill?  Is there a technique to that also?  Downhill walking is far easier than walking uphill.  Quite naturally, gravity will tend to “pull” us down to the lowest point.  So what is it that we need to know?

Since walking downhill is a type of stopping, that is, stopping ourselves from “falling” down the hill, there is a proper way to walk.  As you walk downhill, you’ll note that your entire foot will be used here.  Your whole foot will be your stop controller.  Try and keep your weight towards your heels and not the ball of your foot or your toes.

Be sure and keep your upper body over your hips and as straight as possible.   If you allow your upper torso to sway, it’s quite easy to lose your balance, plus extra energy is being used unnecessarily.  Just be aware of how you are walking.

This next type of walk is one that many children and  hunters will do automatically.  It can be called the hunched or stalking type of walk.

When walking uphill, usually we may be in a type of hunched or crouched position.  Knees are bent, perhaps we are stooped over at the waist and even looking down at the ground.  Why so?  Rocks, sticks, clumps of weeds or grass, tree roots are things we are on the lookout for.

Uneven ground forces us to have our knees slightly bent, making us use the ball of each foot to make sure we keep our footing.  This type of terrain is a good “exercise” for older ones as it helps them to be able to maintain balance.

Taking shorter steps is the proper way to walk uphill, similarly, hunched or stalking type of walking will do the same.  Take note that as you walk, the ball, then the mid-foot, and finally, your heel will land.  That is the proper way to walk uphill.

Stop Being A Bump On A Log !

The proverbial “bump on a log” never moves, or if it does, it’s because someone or something else, moved the log itself.  We need to make sure we are not that bump!

So what do we do?  We get up and start moving!  If we sit behind a desk or do very little walking during the day, then we are perfect for the walking exercises mentioned above.

Why not start today or perhaps tomorrow with our newly found walking routine?  Waking up 15 minutes earlier will give us that bit of extra time to walk around the yard, the block, or even around our apartment building.  Whatever works best for us, JUST DO IT!

Try to get your walking done when you first arise in the mornings.  Why?  Because by the end of the day, most people will say, “I’m just too tired to go for a walk.”

But I Might Get Poked !

When was the last time you walked outside barefoot?  Remember when you were a kid?  It was great to not have to wear shoes.  How about now?

Why not take those early morning walking periods to do so barefooted?  Nevermind the so-called broken glass, sharp rocks, biting ants and so on.  Walk through the grass, allow the grass to massage your toes, letting the morning dew “wash” your feet, or perhaps letting that cool morning sidewalk glide smoothly underfoot.

Use wisdom though, when walking barefoot.  Be on the lookout for those nasty little “pokey” things that do on occasion, show up where we are walking.

Do You Do It ?  Why Not Be Adventurous? 

Get the family involved from an early age.

Get the family involved from an early age.

Entertaining the entire "family" can be fun also!

Entertaining the entire “family” can be fun also!  Especially if your bike floats on water!

Reading about exercising is certainly good.  Educating ourselves as to what and how we can do so is beneficial.  However, we need to honestly take a look at ourselves and ask :  Am I taking the time out of my busy workday to walk?

After all, we are the one getting the benefits of do so.  It’s great fun and beneficial too!

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Share this site




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