#TinyRevolutions – walking better for better health

Fun Palaces Maker Robin Lansman D.O., Osteopath from Body Backup Healthcare ran a walking workshop at the Maida Vale Library Fun Palace in 2019, he shares some ideas for walking well …

Do you remember the Winnie the Pooh story, when they talk about never stepping on the lines between the paving stones when walking along the pavement?  This simple game can certainly encourage opening your stride whilst helping to keep up your pace. 

The latest thinking is that brisk, 10-minute bursts of walking mixed with a more relaxed pace for a total of 30 to 40 minutes a day is what we all need. The slower pace, recovery periods outside of the brisk bursts can become a reflection time, to perhaps contemplate and let go of stresses that have built up. It is not wasted exercise time!

As you warm up, you should also start to notice the natural heel to toe flow of your feet. This should improve especially if your start at a slower pace and gradually increase speed.

It’s also helpful to draw your attention to the direction your feet travel in, as they move from ground to air and then back to ground again. This helps develop your muscle control and is a useful coordination skill.

Your big toe is the major stabilizer of your walking function. Walking, if uneven and in tight or un-cushioned shoes, can distort or damage your big toe. Bunions and arthritis can making walking harder, needing a review of your footwear. You might want to try some floor-based exercise to reduce the effects of ground impact. Gentle hip lifts are a good start.

Stiff hips tend to force the feet to turn outwards which in turn means the ankle and knee alignments are not as effective to propel your body along.

More awareness when walking also ensures more stability by being more aware of your foot strike, which in turn could act as a life skill for more advanced years, when falls can be a major threat. Making your stride more mindful increases body awareness and helps your balance too, so you become more resilient to bumps and sudden turns.

If we are lucky and can walk normally from being a toddler, we don’t really think much about walking as a skill. As we age we all build up stiffness and bad habits that need a rethink, to make sure we are on track and so our walking continues to contribute to our health and wellbeing.

We have all seen how hard it can be to recover from injury or illness when walking has not been possible for a period of time. Patients who have been immobile due to Covid-19 will find walking does not feel natural or even possible. Recovery becomes harder and walking unaided is no longer the freedom it once was.

Enjoy walking and build it as a life skill for your future health. 

Robin and Fun Palaces’ co-director Stella talk about Fun Palaces & community mental and physical health.

We plan to offer a webinar event as part of Tiny Revolutions to help people learn more about making the most of healthy walking.  You can ask questions and also share ideas with other participants too. Once we are back to events in the community we will offer a practical workshop for all ages to explore how they walk and more……