The “secret” of a long healthy life

Have you ever considered that the way you walk can impact on your quality of sleep, which is than linked with your mental strength, your weight, mood and length of life.

Well, ancient Chinese knew that the way of walking has a huge impact on our overall health condition and they verbally forwarded that to their descendants as the “secret” of a long healthy life. One of these “secret” walking exercises is among others the so- called “Chinese walk” or walking backwards. This kind of walking is one of the basic exercises in the Thai Chi . It is believed that the practice has its roots in China. It has been mentioned in ancient Chinese writings before the Qin or Ch’in Dynasty, a dynasty that established the first great Chinese empire (221-207. B.C).

Also, you can find many mythological creatures and immortals that walked backwards on a trip around the world in the Chinese mythology. Either way, the story is certainly not meaningless, but perhaps it’s less known to Europeans and the Western world.

“100 steps backward is equal to 1000 steps that you make forward”

Walking is our main activity, which enables body better blood circulation and gas exchange in our lungs. The most important thing about walking is to do it regularly. The health benefits do not come instantly but only after walking becomes a part of one’s daily routine – no matter whether you walk forward or backward.

Maybe walking backwards as exercise at first seem like something that would only be fun for  children, but the nations of Eastern culture have long ago learned that walking backwards, and especially  jogging, will burn more calories than walking or running normally.  It’s proven that running and walking backwards puts lesser burden on the knee, also for that kind of exercise you need to use more energy and burn more calories in less time than ordinary walking or running, and is an excellent exercise for those who want to a rest the knee and joints. According to some claims 100 steps backward is equal to 1000 steps that you make forward. This is one more reason to try this kind of exercise, right?

In addition, “Chinese walk” is a perfect kind of exercise for weight loss and is used and recommended as a rehabilitation exercise for all those who are suffering from a sprained muscle hip, pain in a  groin area or lower back,  Achilles tendon, ankle sprains, and  pain in the lower legs.

If you walk backward just 10 to 15 minutes for 4 days a week consecutively, you will just in for 4 weeks strengthen the yours flexibility  of tendons.

Do not forget that if you have trouble with falling asleep, a 15 minutes’ walk after dinner is recommended.  If you try “Chinese walk” just 30 minutes a few times a week it will do a lot for your health and at the same time it will help you in melting of your excess pounds. It’s hard at first getting used to “Chinese walk” (of course, we do not have eyes on the back of the head), but it’s good because our senses became more active, we are more focused on our secure and at the same time we influence on correcting our balance, vision and hearing.

How to perform proper “Chinese walk”

To check whether this exercise is feasible for you, try this simple experiment:  walk 10 paces forward and 9 back to check your balance. After that, find a flat area with no traffic and crowd and walk back 20 meters. After, when you became a master of the art you can also try to run backwards or from time to time spend walk backwards on the treadmill for 10 minutes, but at the slowest speed for starters. If you prefer to do this exercise outside, be careful in the beginning, to avoid collisions with other people (depending on where you practice) and you should engage all your senses. If you’re starting to walk backwards outdoors, check that the road is safe (park or trail running are the best choice) and occasionally look over your shoulder. When you think you are ready to run backwards, do it slowly, and only when you have good overcome in walking backwards. Jogging backwards will help you lose weight faster, and fix the sense of balance. If you do running professionally this exercise can certainly help you improve your results.

As an adult we spend most time sitting at the table, carrying heavy bags from the store we also can’t forget all kinds of modern shoes, even though that some of them look awesome they impact on our posture when we walk a lot. If you look at how people walk you will notice the difference: some are tightened, tense shoulders, fixed hand, with headed bowed. It seems that the simple act of movement for many presents a big problem. We often sit incorrectly; and we very often walk wrong. The result is an outbreak of pain in the joints and our back.  So, perhaps we should learn how to walk properly and after that include our “Chinese walk” as an exercise as a key to our future well being.

Proper walking implies that you first touch the floor with your foot downhill from the heel to the toes. The point is that the whole foot is on the ground before the second step. Hold your head up. Do not forget to use your hands when you walk. The speed of your walking is actually caused by hands not feet! To accelerate your walk, you have to swing with your arms and your legs will automatically move faster. The goal is to keep your hands at the appropriate level, slightly bent at the elbow and sway them back and forth while walking.

Proper Breathing

In the Middle East proper breathing was considered a prerequisite of a good and long health. What may surprise us all is the fact that we with all our modern technology – don’t know to breathe properly! Our breaths are usually incomplete, we fill our lungs only to some point, our breaths are short and fast, many of us breathe intermittently. Proper breathing is a technique that we must learn! This technique can be mastered at any age, but it is best to start with it in early childhood.
  • The first thing that we learn is always to breathe only through nose. Mouth breathing facilitates penetration of germs from the air into the lungs, so the infection can be much more common, and by passing through the nostrils air is filtered and heated.The breathing process consists of four phases, which should have an equal duration of time. These are inhaled, retention of air in the lungs, exhalation and pause to regain breath.

Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth

In the beginning, it is easier to do this with some inner counting. Empty the lungs and begin to count to 4 slowly or quickly to 8. In this period, fill your lungs with air and pay attention to your shoulders – they need to be in rectified position. When you have filled the lungs, keeps the air in them until you count to 4 again. The next phase is emptying the lungs slowly, and the last is that your lungs remain empty in the same time interval (counting to 4). This is followed by a new, deep breath and the cycle continues. The transitions from one phase to another must be mild and balanced, without effort and tension, otherwise you will get tired.

When you do the “Chinese walk” you should inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. In China this breathing exercise also belongs to some form of t’ai chi or Qi gong (energetic breathing) which is always connected with walking backwards. Try it and you will feel all of its benefits very soon.

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