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Walking

09/11/2010

This will be a 12 part look into the 12 basics of movement. To summarize the 12 movements are;

Walking

Running

Jumping

Moving on all fours

Balancing

Climbing

Lifting

Carrying

Throwing

Catching

Defending

Swimming

This week we will look into the first of the essential movements.

Walking

Without being incredibly harsh, you would have to be living under a rock to not understand walking. Now I understand there are a lot of people that cannot walk due to health, disability or other conditions. This article is meant to elaborate on the notion that man has forgotten the basics of our human nature. Our basic abilities of mobility.

Thousands upon millions walk daily. They walk for reasons all different in nature. Walking for fitness. Walking for transportation to and from. Walking away from a bad situation, walking into a surprise. Your method of walking could be different from your neighbors. You could be walking with your neighbor.

This is not a primer for learning how to walk. This is a motivation, to help you get up and get out.

Try not to think of walking as going to the mall in search of the world’s best frozen yogurt. Think of walking as a way to release yourself. Most people have fallen into the trap of too little too late. I don’t have time to waste taking a 30 minute walk, I’ll do it later. The beer gut forms, the hips widen. Pretty soon it is far past later and you now can’t walk. Walking has always been able getting to somewhere. Which it is, get from point A to point B. But, walking is far more than that.

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Think of walking as a way to release the tension of the day.

While walking with my kids or my wife, the days stress rolls off. I could spend walking two miles in silence and still my relief is evident. I rarely treat a walk as an exercise, and to be honest, I doubt it stimulates much.

Just the fact of getting up and moving is far more important. Our ancestors didn’t spend their time walking around the block for a cool down session. They would take the tribe and move them across the savannah. Dozens if not hundreds of miles spent moving the entire tribe and housing. Following the herd, or the seasons. It has been shown in several studies that early man spent a lot of the hunting time following the herd until their prey was exhausted enough that they had a chance to kill it. Let’s be honest here, early man had one hell of a violent lifestyle. If they could easily out think their prey, they did. In the book “Born to Run”, author Christopher McDougall and several other anthropologists theorize that early man was built on a model of slow movements over long distances. In looking over the skeletal remains of several species, our bodies were not built for speed like the jackrabbits. Instead we were built for distance and endurance. The jackrabbit had to be just one step faster than its fastest prey. And this continues right on down the food chain. Looking at our physique, compared to even earlier hominids, shows Paleolithic man was smaller, weaker and slower. Yet we survived and Homo erectus did not. Homo erectus, being larger boned, stronger and more suited to the environment still could not survive past a mere 70,000 years ago. Homo Antecessor, which begat Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens split from Homo erectus some 1.3mya. In this time our physique and make up changed to more of what we see today. One of the largest changes occurs in our feet and legs. Again we are the weaker race but our feet develop a curvature, an arch. This allows us to run; it allows us to run great distances and for a long time. In a simpler put way, this allowed us to track, hunt and kill our prey without the grave danger. Facing a fresh saber tooth as opposed to an exhausted saber tooth is a big difference.

So what does all of this mean for us? I cannot say I subscribe to that notion, but, looking at it logically… it’s possible. I know for a fact, I hate running. But I am getting better. I do, though like to walk. During the summer months we try to walk every single night. During the winter months it is a little trying, I do once in a while get the treadmill out. If we get anything from this, it is the fact that we need to get out more. In the immortal words of Bob and Doug, “Take off, eh!” Take your loved one for a walk, take your kids. Take your dog even! But, most importantly, get up and get out.

Side note,

I like to take the kids out for a walk all the time. I have talked of doing this before, but, it is worth mentioning again.

I like to take the kids on scavenger hunts, treasure hunts or gathering sessions. Do I disguise the act of walking with trickery? No, I just like to take them on adventures. It’s easy to get them to help look for loot, not so easy to say “turn off the TV and take a walk with me.” They even started looking forward to them this year. From making treasure maps to follow to Geocaching, all of this is fun and easy to do.

  • Print a map from Google maps or Bing maps (preferably of your town!) hide an object somewhere in the town. Give simple directions and locations on the map in order for them to find it. Think pirate treasure map!
  • Geocaching – is an awesome way to get them to enjoy nature. I have yet to come across a geocache hidden in a business office. (maybe it’s my rural location) Most of our caches have been in parks and wooded areas. This is great for hiking and exploring.
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