Today I want to talk about the other benefits of walking. People often consider walking more of a recreation than a sport, believing it less beneficial to your health compared to “real exercise.” What these people seem to forget is that exercise is not measured solely in sweat. If included as part of a routine fitness plan, walking can get your heart pumping, muscles working, and fat burning—all of the things that a real workout is meant to achieve.
Walking is the exercise I prefer for all who are able. I recommend that most of my patients under chiropractic care walk for exercise and that they understand the importance and principle of contralateral movement. As the name implies, contralateral movement involves coordination of opposite sides of the body, i.e., the right arm and left leg, and the left arm and right leg. This cross crawl movement is accomplished in walking when the left arm swings forward as a step is taken with the right leg and the right arm swings forward as a step is taken with the left leg. Walking with the contralateral movement is not only excellent exercise but, more important, it is the one action that re-times or balances the body. It is nature’s way of returning bodily functions to normal. Contralateral movement is critical to the total health of a patient. Swimming can be contralateral when backstroke or freestyle strokes are used and, in freestyle, the head is turned both ways for breathing. All exercise, including other swimming strokes, tennis, weight lifting, or health club activities, should be followed by a brief, brisk walk to give the body a chance to normalize …much like a chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture treatment.
Contralateral walking exercise is suitable for patients of all ages. However, carrying weights or objects that restrict arm mobility while walking will not be as beneficial since this impairs contralateral movement. It is important to remember that walking should be done in a manner that will give the greatest benefit to the body. Happy walking!
I would love to hear about your walking routine,