The benefits of walking have been widely agreed upon. These can range from increased cardiovascular health, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve blood lipid profile, and enhance mental well being among others.
Our bodies are designed to move in, what’s referred to as, a reciprocal action (opposite sides working with each other, such as when one leg and one arm are forward in gait). This was the goal from the time we were born to the time we began to walk without assistance. This is a fundamental action and something that the body craves.
The following three movements are designed to offer a reset of the body to get back to its original goal of reciprocal action. These movements can be done prior to walking, prior to exercise, after being seated for a great length of time or just about any time you need a little dose of movement to feel good.
1) The Cross Crawl
A. Lie on your back with your legs straight and arms overhead and on the ground. Simultaneously bend your right elbow and left knee as you flex your hip as the knee and elbow come together. Repeat on the other side.
B. Stay flat on the ground while you do this and be sure the leg and arm that are not involved remain straight and flat as you can.
C. Do not strain to make the knee reach the elbow. Only bring it as close as is comfortable.
D. Perform anywhere from 10-20 repetitions.
2) Bird Dog
A. Take a position of all fours with hands, knees and feet touching the ground as if you were a baby beginning to crawl.
B. Be sure the hands are placed under the shoulders, the knees are under the hips and the feet are directly behind you. Keep the pelvis in a neutral position.
C. Slowly extend the right arm in front of you and the left leg behind you. The left hand and right knee remain in contact with the floor. Bring the right arm and left knee back in towards each other and try to touch the elbow to the knee in line with your belt buckle. Either alternate sides or complete all repetitions on one side and then the other.
D. Perform 16-30 total repetitions.
3) Standing Cross Crawl
A. This movement is the same as the Cross Crawl from above only standing.
B. Stand straight with arms overhead, if this is not feasible hold your arms wherever they feel comfortable.
C. Slowly flex the left hip and knee as you bring the right elbow toward that knee.
D. Do not bend at the waist or flex the upper body.
E. Alternate legs and arms as you execute this movement.
F. Perform 16-30 total repetitions.
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