Hello !! Being outside and walking seem to go with summer for me. Whether a park or other natural area or just around town, there are so many beautif


Hello !!

Being outside and walking seem to go with summer for me. Whether a park or other natural area or just around town, there are so many beautiful places to explore. I've been thinking about the importance of varying our walks--both in terrain and in speed, as noted below. Naturally we want to enjoy the experience. Still, we can practice Moshe Feldenkrais' suggestion to "go quickly without hurrying!"

Enjoy your outings this month -- and Happy Independence Day!


Walking Speed and Longevity

The benefits of walking are well-documented and many people walk regularly for their physical and mental health. Of course, walking speed relates to effort and calorie burn. In addition, however, walking speed appears to correlate with longevity.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburg looked at the results of nine previous studies on walking and older adults. They statistically standardized and then compared walking speed to how long the walker lived. Interestingly, a faster walk was associated with a longer life for both men and women 65 years and older. The relationship held even when they factored in things like blood pressure readings or previous hospitalization.

According to the March 2011 Harvard Medical School newsletter which reported on this study:

“People with gait speeds of 1 meter per second or faster lived longer than would be expected given their age or gender. (One meter per second is equivalent to 2.2 miles per hour and just a bit slower than the speed needed to cross the street at most timed traffic lights.)” See more

Now, this doesn’t mean that increasing your walking speed will extend your life. These are statistical associations, not cause-and effect studies.

However, realizing that we are walking at a slower pace might prompt attention to other health issues that could be modified. A few other thoughts come to mind given my interest in improving movement.

• Perhaps you’ve allowed your pace to slow down prematurely and some attention to how you walk, or consciously adopting a slightly faster rhythm, as you are comfortable, could be helpful.
• Allowing the shoulders to move when walking tends to lengthen the stride, which could affect gait speed.
• Finding a more upright alignment and better balance can increase confidence and may allow you to pick up the pace.

Certainly regular walking provides positive health outcomes for most of us. Nor should we approach all walks as a speed event! On the other hand, as we teach in the Feldenkrais Method®, having options is key to health and vitality. So vary the pace, even a bit, from time to time!

Movement Lesson: Moveable Shoulders

I asked students in the recent Stand Tall and Posture Perfect class for feedback on what had been most helpful during the series. Quite a few mentioned the lesson related to movements of the shoulder blades and collarbones over the ribs, also important to walking well. Here's a short variation based on this "Candlesticks Lesson":

Lying on your back, knees bent feet standing, bring your arms out to each side, straight at shoulder level. Bend your elbows so your upper arms stay on the floor with your forearms in the air, fingers pointed to the ceiling. These are your candlesticks. Note that there is a 90 degree angle at each armpit and at each elbow. Keep those angles consistent throughout the lesson, adjusting the position of your elbows from time to time. Precision is everything!

1. Slowly bring the backs of your hands toward the floor on either side of your head as far as is comfortable, keeping your forearms parallel to one another. Return slowly and repeat several times.
2. Slowly bring the palms of your hands toward the floor on either side of your pelvis as far as is comfortable, again keeping the forearms parallel to one another. Feel your shoulders lift from the floor a bit as your collarbones move. Return slowly and repeat several times.
3. Take one forearm "up" and one "down" as in #1 and #2 above. Turn your head and eyes and look toward the upward moving hand as you move the arms in these alternating directions. After a few cycles, turn your head and eyes toward the downward moving side. Rest as you need to.
4. You can play with variations of tilting your knees toward the upward or downward arm or let your head and eyes go opposite (if you've done lots of Awareness Through Movement lessons!) as you explore different combinations.
5. Rest and appreciate your contact on the floor and slowly come up to stand and walk. Appreciate how your moving shoulders influence your walk.

Weekly Class Schedule - July & August

Tuesdays 12:00 noon - 12: 45 pm Yoga Center of Corvallis

111 NW Second Street (at Monroe)

Rejuvenate with a Noon-time Break -- June 17 - Aug 26 (no class July 29)

Srs on floores-1

Attentive exploration of movement combinations of neck, shoulders, ribs and spine for:

stress reduction
• improved performance in leisure and work activities
• increased ease, comfort and pleasure at work and play

Lessons respond to student requests -- new students always welcome! Contact Marg for info.

$8/class for the series (pro-rate during July) -- $10 drop-in -- Register on-site

Baby reaching

Tuesdays 10:30 - 11:30 am Chintimini Senior Center

2601 NW Tyler Ave Corvallis
Register in advance at the Senior Center

Extend Your Reach -- Aug 5 - 26

Learn to coordinate arms, spine and torso to reach, turn, and bend comfortably.

$22 Resident $27.50 Non-Resident $8 Drop-in

For More Information

Contact Marg: Please note new email address-margbartosek@gmail.com


or check out: www.margbartosek.com

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