My favorite form of exercise these days is walking! I walk for an hour almost every morning! It is an integral part of my healing protocol!
I must admit though that walking is definitely a challenge for me, particularly on the loose gravel that I walk on. I tend to shuffle walk at the best of times and walking on this surface increases the difficulty tenfold! But trying to walk normally on this rocky roadway is not the challenge I am referring to. I will get to that shortly!
In order to walk normally, I must really focus on each and every step [lengthening my stride, raising my toes, planting my heel, rocking my foot heel to toe and pushing off with the ball of my foot]. To help me stay focused, I count my steps and recently I started stopping and restarting every time I begin shuffle walking [today, I managed to take 150 normal steps at one point].
While walking, I tend to experience tension in my neck, hands and forearms. I also clench my fists. To reduce the tension and help me relax my hands, I practice qigong or twirl a martial arts bostaff.
I also like to look around and observe while I’m walking. This helps to keep me in the present moment, which is really important for resting my mind. It’s like meditating while walking! It’s really cool actually because the trees appear in 3D when I do this! I especially enjoy looking for wildlife, like deer and bald eagles!
These days, I also find myself swatting deerflies. They like to buzz around and bite me on the back of my head.
Herein lies the challenge! While I’m practicing qigong or bostaff techniques, observing my surroundings or swatting bugs, I immediately start shuffle walking [as you may know, multitasking does not come easy to those of us experiencing a neurological condition], so for now, I need to focus on the activity that is most important to me. And that is, walking normally! Given that South African, John Pepper, has been using conscious walking to neutralize the symptoms he experiences, this seems an obvious choice.
Perhaps when I get to the point when I can walk normally most of the time, I will reintroduce these other activities.
In the meantime, I will do my best to relax my neck, arms and hands, while using my peripheral vision to watch what’s going on around me. And as for those pesky deer flies, tomorrow I’ll be wearing a bug jacket!
Have an awesomely effortless day!