This essential movement we need to do daily whether it’s a 30 minute or two hours of moving our feet around, Walking is a basic, essential exercise for our body daily workout that we might not even realise. Knowing how deeply it related to ourselves, we might as well officially transcend “walking” as our training exercise. We allow an experimental mindset to take the wheel, this way we can put our shoulders back and enjoy what walking has for us while improving our health continuously.
To live a beautiful healthy life, the awareness of our body movement should always be in present.
Once we put the focus back to ourselves, looking inside our body movement and think of what and how we can improve, this is the state where meditation mentioned “back-to-ourselves” and “living-in-present”. In this state with our eyes open, presumably we’re on a street, our mind is now being trained to handle the present body, as well as the surroundings.
To recognise how powerful walking is and why it’s such an important exercise for us to train correctly, while allowing experimental mindset to try different ways of walk from time to time, let’s look at the beautiful arches we have on our sole muscles through flat feet problem as an example to discover the significance of our feet functions.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part I: Our Arches Functions. ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
Generally, we have three arches located on our plantar and they help absorb the shock that’s produced with locomotion ( meaning that any movement travels from place to place) and help adapt foot shape as we walk.
Besides ligaments and tendons, each arch consists of small muscles that chaining with certain foot bones in one particular area for the segmentation between one another. This beautiful triangular space follows us along through human evolution and will probably stay till the sun goes retirement, assuming we could live that long in this crazy space and time!
Two longitudinal arches (the Medial arch and the Lateral arch), with a transverse arch, act as three solid supporting points to help us take in shocks and reduce much stress that we produce every day as we travel.
Normally through walking, the arches will be strengthened, as well as the muscles on our lower legs. This way, we first prevent muscle atrophy, second we allow the aerobic exercise to take in effect.
As we bring in oxygen, our mind refreshes.
Weight walking is good but one needs to know the carrier’s strength capacity in advance to avoid unnecessary injury.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part II: Then, what causes flat feet? ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
When our arches are lost due to a variety of conditions including genetic matter, injuries, obesity, and aging, the curve on the inner middle side of our feet falls to the ground, rendering the flat foot term emerged.
Babies usually outgrow what they naturally have “flexible flatfoot” condition, as their lower legs begin to develop an arch on both sides. Unfortunately some toddlers don’t, owing to genetic matter and it’s best to quickly learn body balance at a younger age to avoid a series of psychological and physiological problems that might arise.
Arch support materials could be the tool for the patient to learn how to control their sole muscles. If the parents tend to apply this concept to their flatfoot children, it can be done by improving their awareness of their feet muscle feelings by massaging them to simulate the nerves. The second and equally important step is for them to be self-motivated to touch their feet with care and train their sole muscles as soon as they can. You as the parents will be the helper by their sides to overcome this problem.
Injuries, like fractures or arthritis, are impactful to the foot’s development if they don’t get treated very properly. The rehabilitation might also take some time. Therefore, it’s best to avoid any injury on our feet so such a flatfoot problem will not arise in the first place.
Obese people develop flat foot conditions because of the overweight situation. The counteract impact against the arches that support our weight is greater than the arches can bear, so the risk of fallen arches will likely occur.
This similar idea applies to pregnant women. In addition, women have wider hips biologically designed for, so their lower legs suffer more if their muscles and other parts aren’t in the most efficient way to support the daily legs activity.
In other words, their legs have to bear more weight according to biology. This also explains why women might have more chances to experience knee problems than men.
In either case, to combat the disadvantage of heavier load, obese people or pregnant women need to improve their lower part of muscles to withstand, presumably they don’t have any leg problem in dealing right now.
Stretching will improve your inner strength as you push yourself into the posture you do with an accomplished version in mind. Though in the case of pregnant women, they need more rest and slow their entire body down to adapt the changes of their body first.
For women in general, if you don’t have any leg problems, then train the lower body is necessary for the sake of your health.
Flat feet become common as we age. Our leg bones, muscles, and soft tissues are wearing down with their capabilities, so ligaments and tendons begin to stretch and lose water, causing the reduction of our arch height with water lost tendons. When the arches fall, it causes rotational changes to the way our ankle moves. These negative changes make their way up to our knee, hip, and then lower back. Eventually, our entire body needs a drastic change to bring things back to balance.
The best way to tackle this (presumably you don’t have any leg problems right now) is to constantly massage, stretch, and *rest our feet and lower body as we going through our days. These three relaxing methods are the best way for us to communicate with our feet and see if additional care is needed before we move our legs into activity.
*The rest here means taking off the shoes and socks, allowing your feet to breathe. You can also sit, but that’s another form of resting.
Exercise for an active approach is jump rope or running.
Jump rope will train the heart muscles with strong improvement in respiratory system as well as the entire body fitness. All it begins with the arches we have, which forcing you to train the lift up movement of the heel.
And running is another good approach. Slow run compels the entire body engaging minimally, and helps improve our lungs functions, so we can handle a 45-minute session without a complete stop easily. Always on the run.
But the main idea here is to do moderately at first, slowly becoming an athletic person during the process.
All above information exposes how important caring for our feet is. And knowing that is a blessing for us to not have a flat foot problem, we can immediately focus on using walking to improve our health every day, rather than hating simple walking is a drag on us for negative reasons.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part III: The Walking Benefits ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
The benefits of walking are deeply related to our bodily functions.
I: It helps the digestive system
One of our body’s primary energy sources is sugar glucose and the digestive system is designed to convert food to it. After a meal, glucose swamps our bloodstream as a gateway for later distribution. It’s a natural process and hormones like insulin help pull that glucose into cells, either it’s for immediate use or storing away for later execution. But people with diabetes and impaired insulin activity, the overloaded glucose remains in the blood that can be the cause or contribution to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other health problems. When we walk, our body productions improve.
II: Walking allows our body to regulate insulin activity
Throughout the walk, hormone insulin acts as the key for opening liver, muscle, and fat cells, allowing the glucose in our bloodstream to be used for energy. Even for those who are overweight, besides burning out calories, walking is a great way to start regulating the imbalance of hormone insulin. Moderate sweating is good. Our body has its fascinated regulating system within, so the more we walk, the healthier we become, especially true for those who drive all the time.
III: Walking helps move our GI tract
The entire digestive system will be exercised through simple walking. Foods follow the moving for a sped-up disintegration. As we walk, our muscles go to work. GI muscles get warmed up and accelerate their force production, in which, It’s a great way to use energy for health and tickle constipation.
The post-meal movement is always the best since the body’s ability to manage blood sugar in the evening, dinner time is the weakest.
So as little as 10 minutes, the walk is not only helping to combat surges in blood sugar but also our digestive muscle contractions, aka peristalsis, get simulated better through movements we do.
Besides walking, resistance exercise or aerobic exercise both have a similar impact on lowering blood glucose levels. But vigorous forms of training may delay digestion after a meal. Our body would slow any digestion currently taking place to divert as much blood as it can to feed the muscles and lungs production.
IV: Walk decreases sugar glucose in our bloodstream
Our body requires sugar glucose for energy. This makes our digestive system exists as the converter between foods and energy while damping the waste that we don’t need. Usually after a meal, glucose swamps our bloodstream following the consumption of carbohydrates. But the muscles we use to walk use glucose as energy, drawing it out of circulation to therefore reduce how much is floating around.
V: It helps thinking and satiety
Besides walking in the evening, a simple morning walk activates our body production and helps blood circulation. Our heart gets to exercise and the benefit will accumulate for the prevention of heart disease. Feeling our heart muscle speed while we walk, is a great way to exercise our health awareness.
For people who struggle with heart disease, try taking strides after a thorough warm-up as training for a week and see what’s good for you. Our mood gets improved for a nice set out of the day ahead, as well as gaining a new perspective to see the same thing.
In psychology’s view, walking refreshes our mind so the solutions likely to manifest themselves during it. When we take a walk, our brain starts to loosen up and enter the phrase known as “The Relax Mode”. Our imagination starts to kick in and releases the stress that we hold on in our brain.
It’s a good way for a break and allows the mental energy to shift to physical energy. Next time when you walk, take a deeper breath during it and see what happens!
Thank you for reading this article! I hope it helps you to recognise the benefits of walking and why it’s good for our health. I see the more comfortable we live, the easier we can forget our body needs. Sometimes, our health awareness is drowned by all of the information before our eyes that are pouring over our head. Our body needs health to sustain, while our mind needs stimulus only. If we start to see walking as a blessing to our health, then we can easily add it to our schedule and start moving for better health. Stay strong and healthy. 🙂
Pictures by Ryoji Iwata, Andrew Jenkins, Emma Simpson on Unsplash