In recent years, science has moved on from seeing the body as a machine and now recognises that, as humans, we are embodied beings.
This means our minds and bodies are made of the same stuff and so our ways of knowing and being in the world, emerge from the body brain interacting with its environment and other beings.
In other words, we are connected to ourselves, each other and the world around us.
This understanding has greatly influenced how we now think about staying fit and active. Functional exercise with other people in the natural environment is now considered one of the best options for helping to maintain optimum physical and mental health. And INSTEPP provides a simple, safe and effective method of doing just that!
As a physiotherapist, my work over the last 30 years has involved helping and supporting people to develop the skills that will best equip them to meet the challenges, both physical and psychological, of being ‘human’ in the modern world.
One of the most challenging tasks I encounter is how to motivate and support people on their journey back to optimum health and wellbeing. We all know we should be exercising regularly, but most of us struggle to find an enjoyable, meaningful way to incorporate exercise into our everyday life.
Julie Ford has provided a simple solution – with no special clothing required, INSTEPP is inexpensive, it can be tucked in a handbag/coat pocket and taken anywhere. It’s suitable for busy working people - at lunchtime or after work – or for parents with the kids in the park after school – it ticks all the boxes for the essential aspects necessary for achieving physical and mental health. Resistance training and walking, outdoors, with other people is the key to a balanced, healthy way of life. INSTEPP is a perfect aid to reach that goal.
‘The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.’ Einstein
There is a substantial body of evidence that supports the positive effects on health and wellbeing that can be gained from walking and resistance training. Almost everyone, regardless of age or gender, will benefit from strength training. Working your muscles will help you shed excess fat, maintain healthy bone mass and prevent age-related muscle loss, the latter of which can start as early as your 30s if you do not actively counteract it.
Strength training also improves insulin sensitivity, lowers your risk of metabolic syndrome, reduces perimenopausal symptoms in women, combats inflammation and improves cognitive function, mood and cardiovascular fitness.
Studies show that walking is not only good for heart and muscles but the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the blood supply to the brain. More blood to the brain is linked to better memory and feelings of wellbeing. This effect takes place naturally when the heart rate and the stride rate are in harmony.
Unfortunately, in England, half of all adults are not active enough to benefit their health.
However, here’s the good news of how walking is a growing phenomenon:
• Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 375 active schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle 1,800 weekly walks are supported by around 8,300 friendly, specially trained volunteers who provide encouragement and support, and make sure no one gets left behind. Every week an average 24,000 walkers experience the benefits of getting and staying active. www.walkingforhealth.co.uk
• Bryony Gordon, a best selling author and columnist for the Sunday Times, has turned the experience of her life-changing walk into a global mental health network of walking meet-ups known as Mental Health Mates. www.mentalhealthmates.co.uk
Endorsement from Dr.Joanne Gladwin, DPT, MSt (oxon), BSc (Hons), GradDipPhys, MCSP.
Consultant physiotherapist with 30 years clinical experience including mental health.
February 26, 2019