Tag Archives: healthy living

Walk this way!

I’m a bit obsessed with walking…  There are so many health benefits to it and it’s so easy to fit into your day and yet I read a report that said that 45% of people would rather take public transport than a short stroll.  And 1 in 20 would use public transport rather than walk for 5 minutes!  And yet walking is the easiest way to fit in the suggested amount of exercise we should be doing plus is like medicine for all the health benefits it has!

For those of you, like me, with older kids who really aren’t excited about the prospect of going for a walk (to say the least) I highly recommend Geocaching!!  Unlike golf – “a good walk spoiled” (Mark Twain) – geocaching is a good walk made better – by a treasure hunt!  Becky even did a talk about it in school this week so must enjoy it more than I thought.  You can find out more here

And remember Mums, Tums & Buggies has plenty of walking in it if you fancy joining us!

Walk this way

When I was a kid I walked with very turned in feet.  My family did what lots of families do – mocked me for it!  So having not seen any kind of specialist I forced myself to walk with straight feet – I now have a twisted shin for my trouble!  So it’s always worth working on any of these postural changes incrementally – just play around with how it feels and notice your gait rather than aiming for some big change.  And there are plenty of specialists who can help if you need it.

Here are some steps you can start with

  • feet should be facing forwards – not turning in or out
  • feet bony hip width apart – in standing and when moving.  Feet should stay in parallel and your weight shifts slightly from side to side, rather than crossing into centre like you’re walking a tight rope or waddling!
  • land mid foot and roll through – your toes should hinge and be the last part to leave the floor
  • push backwards with foot – instead of falling forwards you should be using your leg like an oar.  So the leg spends most of the time behind the body and swings forward from the hip.  Knees shouldn’t be bending that much

Posture is important – the way we walk can have an affect on our pelvis and back health too.  For those of you with buggies, try to walk as you would if you weren’t pushing – the number of people I see leaning forward at a 45 angle…  Not great for the back and a missed opportunity to work your bum muscles! Your arms should be relaxed and think of the legs driving the movement – so you’re not really pushing at all.  Another tip I saw is to use just one arm, and stand off to the side slightly.

The other thing that is worth noting is that the way you walk also depends on the reason for the walk.  If like me you’re always rushing on the school run it’s harder to focus on your form.  In Germany they’ve actually had to put lights in the pavement so people on their mobile phones know when to stop!  Obviously you can’t keep good posture if your chin is dropping onto your chest as you check social media… But also one of the benefits of walking is the chance to think, to look and to be in the moment for once.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Fit For Life? The Benefits of Exercise

It was my birthday last week and I think my subconscious must have been telling me something – the Facebook posts that had been catching my eye were all of elderly exercisers!

It is one of my fitness aims that I will be able to stay healthy and mobile as I age. So these older women have become my new inspiration! And the great thing is – many of them came to exercise in later life because of their health problems. So it’s never too late to start!

I know a lot of people, myself included, first turned to exercise as a way to lose weight. But there are so many more benefits which is why it should be seen as a lifelong habit and not a quick fix.

Unfortunately a survey by one of the big health chains has found that 44% of people do no exercise at all and 48% of those surveyed didn’t see being fit and healthy as an integral part of their lives. This despite the NHS saying exercise can be seen as a miracle cure! It has been shown to lower the risk of:

  • Chronic heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Early death
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hip fracture
  • Falls in older people
  • Depression
  • Dementia

In addition it can improve:

  • Self-esteem
  • Mood
  • Sleep quality
  • Energy
  • Stress levels

I think part of this resistance to exercise could be because of people’s perception of gyms. So it’s great that there are now so many options to do classes outside of the gym setting. But of course exercise isn’t limited to classes or the gym.  It can include any kind of movement – swimming, sports, dance, outdoor activity, playing with the kids, gardening. And it doesn’t have to hurt for it to be doing good! Get sweaty, have your heart rate go up, pant a bit  – but No Pain, No Gain doesn’t have to be your mantra!

The best advice in order to get the health benefits of exercise is to move more, sit less and then find an exercise you love and do it regularly!