I’m passionate about improving our dexterity and in my opinion, the best way of
doing this is – walking. Yes, just walking. But walking properly. Between the ages of 7 to 20 I trained in classical ballet so there’s a muscle memory laid down which has never left me. However, it’s never too late to fine-tune this daily movement which improves your physical and mental life.
I teach my friends when we go on our walks and I promise you that the more you do it, the better you will become, until it’s second nature. At 60 I’m constantly learning, tweaking and trying to improve the quality of my life. Remember we are highly tuned machines, and to the best of our ability shouldn’t allow ourselves to go rusty! Before you set out on your next walk try this… Stand in front of the mirror and check your posture. Are your shoulders back? If they are, the palms of your hands will be at the side of your thighs and your stomach muscles will naturally be engaged and will tone as you walk.
Do you remember those old black and white films we saw in the ’60s of young girls at The Lucy Clayton Finishing College walking around with books on their heads? Well, nobody’s looking, so choose a medium weight book and just do it! It may feel strange, but it’s a clever tool. So that the book doesn’t fall from your head to the ground, it’s forcing you to balance your entire body. Play around a little – think of it as calibration. Now (book aside) pop down on the floor, lie on your back, your body in a straight line feeling the floor underneath you. With your arms crossed across your chest, grip your shoulders, massage your back into the hard floor rolling a little from side to side. If you can, bring your knees up, grabbing them with your hands and massage your lower back into the floor, then relax. In no particular order wiggle your toes, ankles, wrists, fingers, neck, make snow angels – be a child and just enjoy the freedom of stretching like a cat, until you know what feels comfortable. Now go out for a walk, checking your body position as you go and every so often do a few shoulder rolls. My final tip is the best. Pull over, sit down and just watch people walk… some are lopsided, some hunch their shoulders, some pull their neck in, or shuffle, or don’t pick their feet up… By observing you’ll become more conscious of your own movement. Walking properly is one of the simplest and best exercises you will ever do and you don’t need a gym, DVD, app, or an expensive trainer!