All through November I posted on walking, and you can see day 18 - 24 here!
Enrich your walk with new terrain
The walks I take in my neighborhood would be easy to describe - flat and level. Plenty to see, places to go, but the terrain is unchanging. I am very fortunate, however, that just a mile away is the Minnesota Valley Nature Refuge, with uneven terrain, varied surfaces, and HILLS! Just like we tire of eating the same thing every day, our body can tire of the same type of walk. So if, for instance, your usual route is pretty flat, try to find some hills or stairs. If you always walk on the pavement, try walking on the grass next to it. Let's add some new flavor to our walk!
"I love going and walking around the world because I find the world so inspiring for both the positive and the negative reasons. So I think, without sounding corny, it’s soul fulfilling. Just to be out in the world and be present and to witness it first hand versus clips on the news or people’s photographs on social media, so, for me I think it’s about being out in the world and walking through it lets me be a participant in the world as both an observer and as someone who can enact small forms of change." -- Ben Pobjoy
I love walking in places where I usually drive. You're moving so much slower, you get to really SEE your surroundings and you can discover so many details you missed as you wizzed by on your way to something else. It's a way to know our neighborhood better, to meet and learn about other people, and to interact - not just look at it through the window. Your challenge - walk somewhere you usually drive/public transport. You'll discover so many treasures!
Go ahead, pack it on!
A pack I mean! So often when we Westerners walk we are doing it for the pleasure of doing so, for exercise, sightseeing, etc. But if we were walking with utilitarian purpose we probably wouldn't be empty-handed. So if you've begun to walk to your errands like the grocery store, you get the benefit of a loaded walk on the way home. Or you could carry your child rather than pushing the stroller. Park far away in the lot and carry your purchases to the car without a cart.Take the luggage off the wheels and carry it a stretch. The opportunities for a little weighted walking 'in the wild' are many!
In honor of National Take a Hike Day (challenge day 17) I went for a 10 mile hike. It was great! But I definitely felt the need for some stretching during and after, and this was my go to for both. Hip hinging is a great way to stretch the entire back of your leg from the sole of your foot to the top of the leg. Keeping your back straight and knees straight, you 'hinge' at the hip, pushing your pelvis behind your heels. You can hang out there for a few breaths and repeat a couple times. This stretches your tight hamstrings, calves, and is a terrific way to reach for something using glute strength. Try it out!
Today is Thanksgiving, which means we are all about to eat like there's no tomorrow. Besides that, we're gathering with family and friends. The combination of these things would be greatly enhanced with a walk! It's a different kind of walking when we go in a group - distance, pace, and intention are all impacted by it. Besides, it may keep you from falling into a food coma on the couch. And, just in case holidays are stressful for you, consider this: studies show that even a 10 minute walk immediately boosts brain chemistry to increase happiness. So get some Vitamin Community in your walk today!
What's the motivation?
For many of us (most, possibly) walking is situated as an exercise activity. And there are many motivations for exercise. For some of us we exercise to feel good, but for some of us, we exercise because we feel bad about ourselves. So my question to you is - do you know your motivation for walking (exercise)? Is it enjoyable for you? Does it offer you something that feels nurturing? Or do you find yourself walking because of the guilt of overeating, feeling bad about the numbers game (scale and size)? When I ask people this question, I often get 'shoulds' - which is rarely a positive. So your challenge is to search out what is enjoyable about walking and add more of that to your day. Be kind to yourself, walk with love!
Are you leading with your head?
Tech neck - otherwise known as forward head posture or slumping - is familiar to all of us. But if you look at the top right picture, I haven't changed my head's relationship to my body - I lifted my chest and arched my back! Tricky, right? So we don't want to walk slumped over, but we don't want to walk with an arched back either. Solution? Center your chest over your pelvis and move your head back and up without lifting your breastbone. It takes practice and persistence, but your neck, chest, and upper back will thank you! And no, you aren't going faster if you lean forward and lead with your head, it's just good for leaning into the wind.