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The Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
By Anne White
 
Despite the fact that I have, what I refer to as exercise phobia, I do recognise the benefits and importance of taking some regular form of exercise. If I am to be brutally honest keeping healthy does not come naturally to me, so although I believe in good nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle, it does take some effort on my part.

I have managed to conquer the healthy nutrition side of things however, the exercise bit is still an uphill struggle but I am getting there. I recently did some reading up on exactly how exercise is of benefit to my body and was quite motivated by my findings which I have outlined in this article for others like me, who would exercise when they have the time. You know who you are and if you are anything like me, you can always find something that needs to be done before you get to the exercise bit.

Anyway, some facts that I learned from my research which have actually managed to get me to take action in this department are quite interesting and hopefully they will help to activate anyone who has an exercise phobia type view on the subject.

Apparently we were designed for action, back at the dawn of time, in order that we could hunt and gather food to feed ourselves, however as the centuries have gone by we have slowly and surely lost this need, well it doesn't take much effort to walk around a supermarket does it? And of course, there is always the option of shopping online and getting it delivered to your front door.

In our 21st century lifestyle we have everything on tap and as a result we live very sedentary lives, which is why being overweight is practically an epidemic in the Western world.

However, because our bodies were designed for action, the 21st century sedentary lifestyle is in direct conflict with our body’s natural design and if we do not take regular exercise we run the risk of serious ill health. For instance a long term lack of exercise can result in a higher than average risk of contracting heart disease, then there is the added issues of poor circulation, shallow breathing thereby reducing our intake of oxygen, it can also affect bone density increasing the potential for osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

However, even taking gentle regular exercise such as walking can greatly improve our health and increase our chances of remaining healthy even into our very senior years. The benefits of exercise cannot be ignored if we want to have good health and that is a fact.

A regular exercise regime undertaken three to four times a week tones and conditions our muscles, stabilises our joints and is good for our cartilage, ligaments and bones. Exercise also has a positive impact on our mental health, as after an exercise session our body releases endorphins which make us feel really great.

Further benefits to be gained from regular exercise include weight maintenance, loss of excess body fat, helps to shift and prevent cellulite and last but not least, and this was the information that really motivated me, exercise can assist in holding back the aging process.

To conclude, the benefits to be achieved from committing to a regular exercise program is worth the effort as you will soon start to feel the effects as your body will become more supple, your strength and stamina will improve and your outlook will become positive and confident.

I hope these few facts that I have passed on as a result of my research into the subject of exercise will encourage you to start your own exercise routine soon, remember it helps to hold back the aging process, what more motivation could you possibly need.

source: selfgrowth.com

Exercise Your Heart Needs
By Al Sears, M.D.
 
Here’s a fact missed by just about everyone: To maintain a healthy heart that will take you far into old age, long duration endurance training is the last thing you need. You'll do much more for your heart by exercising in brief spurts. If you do it effectively, expect to spend no more than 10 minutes a day.

Reserve Capacity Prevents Heart Attacks

Conventional wisdom says that your heart needs endurance training to remain healthy. Indeed, they use cardiovascular endurance, (CVE) as a synonym for heart conditioning. But is this really what your heart needs? I don’t think so.

A lack of endurance doesn't cause heart attacks. Heart attacks typically occur at rest or at periods of very high cardiac output. Often there is a sudden increase in demand, i.e. – when lifting a heavy object, having sex or receiving an unexpected emotional blow.
 
The sudden demand for cardiac output exceeds the heart’s capacity to adapt. In other words, the key to heart health – & avoiding a fatal heart attack – is reserve capacity.

What you really need is faster cardiac output. By exercising for long periods, you actually induce the opposite response. When you exercise continuously for more than about 10 minutes, your heart has to become more efficient. In essence, your heart & lungs actually become smaller in order to become more efficient. You give up maximum capacity because a smaller heart & lungs can go further during endurance type exercises.

A recent Harvard study examined middle-aged men, exercise & cardiovascular health. Researchers found that men who performed repeated short bouts of exercise reduced their risk of heart disease by 100% over those who performed long duration exercise.

So how do you increase your cardiac reserve capacity? I've worked with athletes, trainers & patients at our Wellness Research Foundation to produce, PACE (Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion).
 
It has produced dramatic results in my cardiac patients.

PACE Yourself & Transform Your Body – In Just Minutes a Day!

The first feature of the PACE plan is progressivity. This simply means repeated changes in the same direction. Do a bit extra this week than you did last week.

Most people doing cardiovascular exercise increase the duration. That’s precisely what I want you to avoid. Gradually increase some measure of intensity instead. Begin light & gradually pick up the pace or add resistance as your capacity increases.

The second principle is acceleration. In other words, get up to speed a little faster in the next session than you did in the last. When you are out of shape, it'll take several minutes to gear up your breathing & heart rates. But as you get more accustomed to the challenge, you'll respond faster.
 
As you get into better shape, you will increase the intensity in each session & increase the intensity earlier in each session.

You must do one other thing differently than the standard exercises of the past. As your conditioning increases, decrease the duration of the exercise interval. Use briefer & briefer episodes of gradually increasing intensity. Start with 20 minutes every other day. As you get into better shape, break those 20 minutes into two 10 minute intervals with 5 minutes of rest in between.
 
After a few weeks, break those 20 minutes into four 5 minute intervals with 2 minutes of rest in between. Continue to break your exercise into shorter intervals at you own pace.

When you're well conditioned, you'll be using “mini-intervals”. For instance, my intervals for biking are less than a minute followed by a minute of rest repeated for 8 intervals.

You can use any activity that'll give your heart & lungs a bit of a challenge. My favorites are swimming, biking, running & elliptical machines. I switch off between them to keep it fun & lower the chance of “overuse injuries”.
 
What you'll use will depend on your level of fitness. The important thing again is that the challenge advances gradually over time.

Burn 9 Times More Fat than a Long Distance Runner

I know some of you are probably skeptical about this approach. After all, it goes completely against the standard recommendations of almost all those fitness “authorities” out there. So let me tell you about some of the additional benefits of short-duration exercise.
 
Short bursts of exercise tell your body that you want to lose fat & maintain a strong heart, lungs & muscles. When you do this repeatedly, you teach your body what it needs when you exercise.
 
Essentially, you’re telling your body that storing energy as fat is inefficient, since you never exercise long enough to utilize the fat during each session.

Carbohydrates, which are stored in muscle rather than fat, burn energy at high rates. Exercising for short periods will use these carbs & burn much more fat - both during & after exercising.

Find Your Own PACE Workout

In chapter 7 of my new book, The Doctor’s Heart Cure, you’ll discover more about PACE & how to recondition your heart & lungs.

You’ll learn:

• The best exercises for functional strength.
• Choosing the exercise activity that’s right for you.
• Common sense calisthenics.
• Your 8-week plan at-a-glance.

To find out more about my book right now, click here: www.alsearsmd.com/heart-cure.php

Keeping Exercise Fun
By Melissa Allen
 
As you may have discovered for yourself, sticking with an exercise program long enough to make it an actual habit can be difficult, to say the least. While hopefully most of you reading this are either currently exercising or planning to start doing so in the near future, almost all of you will at one time or another grow tired of your current fitness program. That is the point that will either make or break you. In order to make fitness a lifestyle and develop a new and lasting habit for yourself, you have to persevere beyond the point that initial boredom may set in.

Unfortunately, most people expect immediate results when undergoing a fitness program, and expecting so often leaves people disappointed when they don’t meet those high expectations. If you stop and think logically about how it took you possibly three years of living a sedentary lifestyle, eating fast food, and not exercising, then it is logical not to expect to drop 20 pounds of body fat and gain five pounds of muscle in the first month!

Rather than expect immediate results, you should focus on taking it one day at a time and look for the enjoyment and feeling of fulfillment in your new lifestyle. Trust that your efforts will pay off, and look, listen, and feel how your body is changing. It will surprise you how in-touch you can actually become with your body over the course of a few years. Observe whether or not you feel an increase in energy, or possible you are hungry more often than you were before (signifying an increase in metabolism). You may notice a feeling of rejuvenation for life—you’re now looking forward to each day because you’re feeling good! Along with that may come feelings of optimism and maybe even improved relationships with loved ones. Possibly you won’t require as much sleep as you did before. You’ll probably be surprised at the impact the exercise can make on your life.

These are things that most people overlook when passing judgment on their newly undertaken fit lifestyle. It is obviously important to achieve physical results as well, like changes in body measurements, weight, and the way your clothing fit, especially if your life depends on it, but don’t overlook the intrinsic changes along the way.

So remember to give yourself some time and don’t expect immediate results. Instead just try and learn to enjoy the process. It actually feels good to feel good!
 
source: selfgrowth.com 

Words on Fitness Walking
by Lawrence Gold, certified Hanna somatic educator | somatics.com/gold.htm
 
Fitness walking is the most accessible exercise for people of all ages. However, as people age, general physical problems tend to crop up - pain, stiffness, joint degeneration and loss of balance. This article undertakes to address those issues and to suggest how people might deal with (correct, not "get used to") them and get the most from a fitness walking program.

What interferes with people's staying with any exercise regimen (assuming they're motivated)?

The most basic, and most obvious answer is this: pain.

Old injuries (and pain associated with aging) interfere with all activities by making us not want to move and by draining our energy. So, let's start by addressing the question head-on.

The Relation of Pain to Improper Movement

Pain commonly coincides with (and results from) improper movement patterns. Here's how.

Let's start at the beginning. The basic function of muscles is movement. However, muscles may also (and commonly do) interfere with movement when they get conditioned to stay tight at all times. Involuntary, improper movement patterns result. It's not just a matter of "not knowing how to move properly", as if you could just decide to do so and do so, thereafter. Movement patterns are acquired by learning and repetition.

Improper Movement Patterns Involve Muscular Tensions

Movement patterns are acquired by learning; they're not automatically "given" by birth. In general, people develop their movement (coordination) patterns by example, by the daily demands of life, and by athletic training.

Improper athletic training techniques often lead to acquired muscular tensions that are reinforced by continued training and athletic activity, itself. Young people also observe others, particularly family members, as their examples of how to move, and move that way for a lifetime. It's not exactly imitation, but a kind of contagion similar to how seeing a person yawn makes you want to yawn. Learned, improper (or poor) movement patterns make injury more likely.

Muscular tensions are also acquired by another kind of learning -- the learning that injuries and stress provoke: people tighten up. The common guarding reaction against pain -- cringing -- involves muscular tension, tension that can (and commonly does) last indefinitely. A lifetime of injuries and stress shows up as muscular tensions that accumulate as aging progresses.

Let me be clear about something: aging doesn't cause these muscular tensions; reactions to injury and stressful situations cause these muscular tensions, which then become habitual. The notion of "old injuries, old muscles" causing pain is a fallacy. What is behind the pain is "old tensions," still in place.

Tight muscles generate pain in three ways:
  • muscle fatigue

  • over-compression and inappropriate movements at joints

  • nerve entrapment (pinch) between muscle-and-muscle or between muscle and bone.

One common consequence of tight muscles' effects on joints, besides pain, is joint-replacement surgery. Muscular tensions cause overcompression of joints, breakdown and dissolution of cartilage, and bone-on-bone situations. Muscular tensions from old injuries lead to joint-replacement surgery.

Stiffness

The term, "stiffness," describes the sense of extra effort required to move when muscles are no longer pliant, joints, no longer as flexible.

The term "stiffness", however, is not very informative about its causes and even misleading (inaccurate).

Muscles do not and cannot become "stiff". They may become contracted, tight, but not "stiff". The only things muscles can do is tighten and relax. The tightness of one muscle or muscle group attached to a body part (e.g., upper arm) would interfere with opposing muscles that are attached to move the same body part. The feeling is of stiffness, but it is not the stiffness of muscles; it's the stiffness of movement due to muscular oppositions (called "co-contraction").

EXAMPLE: The biceps of the upper arm (which bends the arm at the elbow) opposes the triceps (which straightens the arm at the elbow). If the biceps and triceps become habitually tight, bending and straightening movements of the elbow feel stiff. The same is true of all other joints.

Another cause of stiffness is joint friction. In the healthy state, joints are lubricated by a super-slippery liquid, called synovial fluid, secreted by the cartilage of the joint. As people get older and fail to consume adequate amounts of water over a lifetime, their tissues, including cartilage, lose water. Synovial fluid decreases and thickens; internal friction makes joints stiffer.

Over-compression of a joint over time by over-contracted muscles leads to breakdown of the cartilage, further impairing its ability to generate synovial fluid. Inflammation, by the way, is the body's way of force-feeding fluid into parts of the body that need it. Dehydration and joint damage may therefore result in joint inflammation to support secretion of synovial fluid.

Tight muscles not only cause improper movement, but also cause joint breakdown and stiffness, which compounds improper movement.

Balance

Balance results from good coordination and fluid movement. It depends particularly upon uprightness -- right-left symmetry. A side-tilt right or left, stooped posture or swayback throw balance off and decrease the speed at which we can move safely. Being off balance slows us down.

Balance is largely a matter of freely adjusting pelvic movements, which control the position of the center of gravity. A freely moving pelvis, in turn, depends upon responsive and resilient musculature of the trunk and legs.

The oddity is that as people acquire muscular tensions and lose good balance, they do things like lean forward in the characteristic stooped posture of the aged. This action may be an attempt to minimize the distance between themselves and the ground, should they fall, but it actually predisposes them to a fall by shifting their weight forward of their center of support. It's a misguided effort. The most secure posture for balance is fully upright.

I'm not going to go into a discussion of posture, here, because posture follows from muscular control and coordination, and the techniques for cultivating muscular control and coordination take more than a few words of advice; they involve specific training.

Instead, I'm going to address some of the common forms of improper movement that lead to pain, stiffness, joint degeneration, and poor balance, and then speak of the form of training that can correct them.

ERRORS OF IMPROPER MOVEMENT

Improper movement isn't a sign that a person isn't paying attention to "proper" movement; it's a sign that their habitual way of movement, their way of moving when they're not thinking about it, is improper.

That's a matter of habituation -- how a person learned movement, the degree to which they refined it through practice into good coordination (grace), and how injuries of the past have left impressions on the nervous system that cause guarding reactions that affect movement.

Arm Swinging

One common instruction given for walkers is "swing your arms." This is a less than ideal instruction; a better instruction is "turn your shoulders and chest side to side in rhythm with each step." This kind of instruction leads to the undulating movements of the saunter, an attractive movement pattern typical of Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly.

Note that balance is maintained in walking by opposite-and-balancing turning movements of the chestand-pelvis. These opposing movements involve a twisting action controlled by the muscles of the waist. The shoulders and arms follow the turning movements of the chest; the legs follow the turning movements of the pelvis (hips). This kind of movement is the basis
of the saunter.

When a person swings his or her arms, s/he often does so as a substitute for that twisting movement at the waist; s/he does what I call, "the refrigerator walk," a term that makes sense if you've ever watched someone walk a refrigerator across the floor, which moves as a single block. How labored that is!

When shoulders and chest are thus immobilized, excessive muscular effort is needed at the hip muscles to swing the legs forward and back. This excessive effort conditions those muscles to get abnormally tight, which in turn compresses the hip joints and leads to hip joint replacement surgery. In addition, tight hip joint muscles (flexors and extensors of the legs) limit movement, slow walking speed and increase the labor of walking. Proper twisting at the waist is essential for long-term health of the hip joints.

I've oversimplified this discussion a bit to make a point. Now, I'll add back what has been subtracted: the proper application of arm swinging. In leisurely walking (strolling), the arms hang freely; the more vigorous the stride, the more the arms and shoulders engage to add power to the stride. The momentum of the arms, shoulders, and chest pass through the center of the body to the pelvis and legs with each new step to help move the hips and legs, which brings us to the next error of form:

In the natural strolling pattern, arms hang freely and move in a pendular rhythm with overall body movement. In the natural saunter, arms and shoulders, now moving like a powered pendulum, contribute to movement.

In vigorous walking, arms and shoulders continuously recycle the momentum of the hips and legs by switching directions quickly, front to back and back to front. The arms and shoulders are not passive, but active, as movement pumps. Bent elbows shorten the effective length of the arms, known in physics as "the moment arm," (for those who know physics). Perhaps it would be better called, "the momentum arm," for the shorter the effective length, the less momentum is stored and retransmitted to the pelvis and legs.

Bent elbows contribute to the habit of immobilizing the muscles of the waist by reducing the effect of the upper body upon the lower body. Although the bent-elbow technique is common and preferred among seasoned fitness walkers, an alternate, straight arm technique efficiently passes momentum from the upper body to the lower while encouraging the twisting movements at the waist essential for fluidity and balance.

Walking on the Outer Edges of the Feet

The feet are constructed with the largest, weight-bearing bones at the inner three toes and smaller, balance-adjusting bones at the outer two toes. The outer toes form an arch that enables a foot to adjust to uneven standing surfaces. The average standing weight distribution on healthy feet is about 65% heels, 25% inner three toes (medial longitudinal arch), 10% outer two toes (lateral longitudinal arch).

ERRORS OF THINKING

Stretching

The purpose of stretching is flexibility, but stretching doesn't accomplish that purpose very well. Generally, people find stretching difficult, unpleasant, and slow. Stretching produces only a temporary reduction of muscular tension and disrupts coordination of the stretched muscles with the rest of the body. The more forceful the stretch, the more the disruption of coordination.

Stretching hamstrings, for example, causes knee instability, which causes instability higher up in the body, which in turn interferes with balance and reduces the power available for walking.

Because we move as a whole and maintain our balance by good coordination, coordination is more important than isolated stretching of muscles. People need to think, instead, in terms of control. The control I speak of is control of movement, which also involves the ability to relax muscular tensions instilled by years of injuries and stress and to coordinate movements efficiently. Coordination is something that stretching can't develop.

I will introduce the alternative later on. For now, let's just say that there is a self-training process that can easily and lastingly eliminate the accumulated tensions of a lifetime without stretching, and thereby accomplish the goal of stretching, which is flexibility, and more: better coordination.

Chest Breathing

Many people believe that breathing comes from chest movements. However, relaxed breathing uses the diaphragm primarily and the chest only secondarily. The whole torso inflates.

Efforts to breathe deeply often end up becoming shallow chest breathing. A better way to breathe deeply is to exhale fully, then let inhalation occur on the rebound. As an experiment, try exhaling and stay exhaled until you feel the need to inhale. Then, let yourself inhale. Feel the difference.

Foot Arches

The arches of the feet are not rigid architectural structures, but dynamic springs held in shape by the soft tissue (fascia) and muscles of the feet and lower legs. Fallen or high arches indicate muscular and soft-tissue problems in the legs and feet that can be improved by correct coordination training and sometimes by soft-tissue manipulation combined with movement (as in RolfingŪ).

CHRONIC TENSION PATTERNS FOUND IN MANY PEOPLE

As I have said, chronic tensions, present in significant amounts in most people, interfere with good coordination, free movement, and good balance. Now, I'll specify common patterns present in people, patterns that not only interfere with mobility, but also with the results of training programs designed to prepare people for fitness walking.

Tight Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are the muscles at the fronts of the hips that cover the hip joints and bring the knees forward. The visible sign of tight hip flexors is a butt that sticks out and a noticeable fold at the groin. When those muscles are too tight, they restrict the distance the leg can move back; they shorten the stride. By shortening that distance, they also prevent the natural spring in the step called "toe-off."

Tight Chest Muscles

Tight chest muscles prevent free shoulder movements that add momentum to walking. They also restrict breathing. Inability to swing the arms comfortably in large circles by ones sides generally indicates tight chest muscles.

Tight Hamstrings

The hamstrings do more than help propel the body forward; they also control foot direction (by twisting the tibia in the knee joint) and affect ground contact (by altering foot pronation/supination). Tight hamstrings are a common condition also remediable, not by stretching, but by retraining the muscles to their normal length and responsive pliancy. Tight hamstrings produce the sensation of heavy legs and, by preventing the knee from straightening completely, causes the quadriceps muscles (fronts of thighs) to tighten and grind the kneecap against the knee joint, leading sometimes to kneecap pain (chondromalacia patelli).

Raised Shoulders

The muscles that raise the shoulders interfere with fluid shoulder movement and make walking more labored.

Shoulders go up under oxygen starvation, as in athletic effort. It's an attempt to get more air when abdominal breathing is blocked by tight abdominal muscles and tight intercostal (rib) muscles.

Raised-shoulder breathing is no substitute for free breathing. The abdominal and intercostal (between ribs) muscles must be free to move.

Tight Back Muscles

When back muscles are tight, they interfere with the free twisting movements of the waist necessary for a free saunter. In addition, they interfere with breathing and may introduce pain and stiffness to overall movement.

Tight Belly Muscles

The "tight gut", the holy grail of many exercise conditioning programs, interferes with breathing, distorts posture (contributes to stoop) and interferes with free movement. A belly should be soft to permit easy breathing and upright posture.

The protruding belly is usually a sign not that the belly muscles are too soft, but that the back muscles are too tight. Those muscles bend the spine into a curve like that of an archer's bow; the belly naturally protrudes forward.

Tight Neck

A tight neck, apart from being painful, often indicates that a person is a "chest breather." Chest breathing uses the neck muscles to lift the ribs to breathe. Compared to diaphragmatic breathing, chest breathing is inefficient and labored. Chest breathers often have a tight belly, as well.

Tight Calves

Tight calves contribute to fatigue in walking and something else - they deprive the walker of spring in the step. The reason? Tight calves are always somewhat fatigued and therefore weakened.

Another consequence of tight calves: tight hip joint flexors. The reason: lacking spring in the step to help propel the leg forward, the walker must overuse their hip flexors, which get conditioned to be tight.

FITNESS WALKING EXERCISES

One popular fitness-walking program offers a series of exercises to prepare people for fitness-walking. I will describe and discuss a selection of those exercises, below.

High Knee Lift, Straight Leg Placement

INSTRUCTION: "Lift your knee high and straighten it as you bring your leg forward."

Such an instruction is necessary for people who have:.. drop-foot or tight calf muscles.. tight hamstrings

Drop-foot is a neurological condition of weakness or flaccidity of the shin muscles. However, if tight calf muscles are involved, the correct instruction would be to retrain those muscles to be more responsive to free the foot for lifting.

If the involved muscle groups are not retrained, the exercise as described may lead to excessive arm motion in an attempt to help the leg movements made laggard by contracted muscles.

Hip Rotation Twist Drill

INSTRUCTION: "Exaggerate hip rotation very strongly so there is a stretch effect."

Hip rotation depends upon free and responsive muscles of the waist. This exercise seeks to cultivate responsiveness of those muscles.

There is a tendency among people who don't have freedom and responsiveness at the waist to tighten the hip flexors too much to bring the leg forward in stride. That can lead to excessive muscle fatigue and joint compression.

Free hip movement proceeds in rhythm with chest/shoulder movements, but only if hip flexors are free and the waist muscles responsive.

Cross-foot Twist

INSTRUCTION: "Walk a line, crossing feet over the centerline, keeping upper body stabilized to minimize twist."

This is an exercise for the muscles of the inner thighs (the adductors). It is helpful for cultivating balance, as those muscles help control sidebending (through coordination with the trunk muscles) and leg positioning.

ADDED INSTRUCTION: Feel and squeeze with the inner thigh muscles of the rear leg to help the forward leg to cross over the line. Stay erect.

Arm Circle Drill

INSTRUCTION: Walk along a wall and swing your arm in a circle parallel to the wall.

This is an exercise that assists swinging of the arm, shoulders and chest, when synchronized with the walking rhythm. It depends upon free shoulder musculature.

People whose chest muscles are tight find this exercise impossible to do as described; they can't bring their arms behind them. Again, stretching won't help much, as those muscles are in the grip of a tension pattern maintained by the brain that must be unlearned before the muscles will fully relax and lengthen.

Quick Stop Drill

INSTRUCTION: "Take short, fast steps with hip rotation and flexion; increase number of steps within a given distance."

This conditioning exercise develops speed of movement. It depends upon good balance and freedom of the hip musculature from excessive muscular tension.

Extension of the Leg Behind Drill

INSTRUCTION: "Feel the weight in the foot of the back leg move from heel to big toe."

This conditioning exercise seeks to cultivate longer stride and full foot contact with the ground. It depends upon freedom of the hip flexors (front hip joint muscles) and of the calves from excessive tension and upon responsiveness of the calf muscles (for spring in the step).

Quiet Upper Body Drill

INSTRUCTION: "Hold elbows at 90 degrees, hold hands still at hips - to isolate upper body from lower."

This exercise has the effect of damping out momentum that might otherwise be transmitted between the upper and lower body. An unnatural movement pattern not seen in agile individuals, cultivation of this movement pattern overworks hip flexors, impedes balance, and slows movement.

It might be used temporarily to cultivate hip movement in individuals who use a lot of arm and shoulder movement in walking, but the tendency to immobilize the pelvis during stride would defeat that purpose.

The tendency automatically to move the arms and shoulders is an inherent movement pattern built into the human design and should be cultivated, not interfered with or inhibited.

Walking Backward

Here's a little exercise you can try: alternate walking forward with walking backward.

Walking backward prevents the usual habits of movement from taking over. It gives you practice in making full foot contact with the ground and improves your balance. Remember to alternate.

A Remedial Drill for Tight Calves

A movement maneuver called, "The Athletes' Prayer for Loose Calves," frees tight calves, imparts spring-in-the-step, and improves foot contact with the ground. Instructions can be obtained via the internet by sending email to Athletes_Prayer @somatics.com.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Easy walking involves uprightness, fluid movement throughout the whole body, and responsive adjustments of the Easy walking involves uprightness, fluid movement throughout the whole body, and responsive adjustments of the whole body to changes of speed and direction. In short, easy walking involves freedom of movement and good coordination.


Author's Bio
Click for more words on
athletic training.

See video of
The Athletes' Prayer for Loose Calves

Lawrence Gold is a long-time practicing clinical somatic educator certified in The Rolf Method of Structural Integration and in Hanna Somatic Education, with two years' hospital rehab center experience (Watsonville Community Hospital Wellness and Rehabilitation Center: 1997-1999) and articles published in The American Journal of Pain Management (Pain Relief through Movement Education: January, 1996, Vol. 6, no. 1, pg. 30) and in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (A Functional Look at Back Pain and Treatment Methods: November, 1994, #136, pg. 1186 ).
source site: www.selfgrowth.com

What Nature Can Teach Us While Walking
by Cindie Wilding
 
I love hiking and being outdoors. While I really love beautiful places I've never seen, and trails to hike that remind me of being a kid and exploring, I am also happy just walking outside in my neighborhood. There is something about taking the time to be outside and observe what is there, that takes me off the hamster wheel of doing doing doing. Instead of noticing my email alert telling me I have a new email, I can notice flocks of birds flying in formation, notice the songs they sing, notice the wild turkeys that show up where I live. In giving myself the time to notice these little things outside myself, I can also notice what happens inside myself - the thoughts and the 'monkey mind' disappear and my planning mind has an opportunity to take over.

I think walking, just the forward movement allows my planning mind to help me move forward too. I sort through things and come up with the most amazing and creative ideas!

Yesterday as I was out walking while the wind was blowing fiercely, I was thinking of the metaphor of life that presented to me -- circumstances can make me feel like I'm being pushed against and I might need to struggle a bit to push back, but I won't get pushed over, I will keep walking and I can stand strong inside my own strength.

Just some things to ponder. This weekend if you feel stuck in a problem, frustrated or just bored, take a walk outside and see what you notice. See what messages nature might provide for you.


Author's Bio
Life Coach and Certified Retreat Coach Cindie Wilding loves working with people to help them reconnect with their authentic self. Through one-on-one coaching she motivates, inspires and supports others who feel stuck, to envision what they want for themselves, and take the steps to get there. She leads retreats designed to allow time to go within, to nurture and provide self-care and to learn more about one's self.
 
source site: www.selfgrowth.com

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