Walking – Great for a Rower’s Body and Mind

Credit: Roman Bintang, Unsplash

During the recent – or current, depending on when and where you read this – COVID19 lockdown many of us could not row the way we would have loved to. Neither was it possible to use many of the public gyms. So maybe you are one of many who rediscovered walking. Walking often carries the notion of being to placid an activity, not high intensity enough for serious sports men/women. Is that true?

Outside Magazine published a great article on “Walking Is Making a Major Comeback” by Gloria Liu. Gloria – herself a highly active mountain biker – very entertainingly and well researched explains her newfound love and respect for walking. The article is feature length, so just the right material for a nice long weekend read.

Here’s 3 reasons why you will love walking even more after reading Gloria’s article:

Your Mind: Gloria explains how and why walking loosens your thoughts.

“Our dopamine, our serotonin, all the feel-good chemicals, are being released when we walk. And that’s not just mood. It’s creativity, it’s de-stressing, it’s lowering cortisol—there’s a lot of chemistry involved in this.

Your Body: You will have a whole different appreciation for the ability to work. We walk because we can.

“Here’s what it takes for you to take a single step: … as you step forward with one leg, just before your foot makes contact with the ground, the glutes, hamstrings, and quads activate to stabilize the hip and knee. Those muscles stay active as your foot touches down and your weight shifts to that limb. For a moment, this “stance limb” supports 100 percent of your weight. During this time, the stance-limb calf muscle activates to stabilize the ankle and knee, controlling the forward progression of your center of gravity over your foot. As weight shifts to your forefoot, it allows your heel to rise, so you can generate power through the ground, initiating the so-called swing phase of walking.

At this point, you need to bend your hip and knee quickly to lift your foot high enough off the ground so you don’t trip. Now the hip flexors and ankle dorsiflexors, such as the anterior tibialis in front of your shin, get involved to swing your leg through swiftly. At the end of the swing, your hamstring controls the speed of your knee extension. Your foot then makes contact with the ground, beginning the cycle again.

All the rest: In contrast to rowing, walking is not a sport. It’s child’s play – and that’s good for you.

“As a society, we treat exercise as an antidote to our sedentary, screen-filled lives, in which we sit, scroll, stress. We dose it like medicine: apply exercise once daily. But what if walking was simply a way to spend more of our lives in motion—even if we have other active outlets, too? In the past few months, I’ve taken phone calls with faraway friends on walks, gone walking to break through writing blocks or to rehearse for difficult conversations. I wasn’t just exercising. My life was happening.

What is you experience? Have you walked more during lockdown? Do you agree with the statements made above? We’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.