Practice Walking BEFORE You Go Walking!

John Paul Ouvrier

John Paul Ouvrier

Here’s a wonderful idea that is simple to do and really gets your walking… walking!

Take a minute or two to wake up your walk, before you walk, by practicing some wonderful pre-walking exercises. I learned this from a very successful male fitness model who was 85 when I knew him. He told me he did this so that he could walk the way he wanted to, and not like most of his peers. And his work was also an incentive!

What he did was take a minute or two (in his case it was in front of a mirror), to walk back and forth with a youthful a vibrant walk. And it worked. He would swing his legs around, sink up and down, roll his shoulders around, put a smile on his face BEFORE he went out the door!

Along the same lines as this experience, I was also taught from a very well known balance doctor to teach my clientele to separate balance exercises from walking exercises. Too many people he would say to me, take their walk and think that the walk covers their need for balance at the same time. It doesn’t. He taught me that keeping balance exercises separate is not only safe, it increases the body’s ability to balance dramatically. We could argue that a young youthful walk would be better served if separated into a minute or two of young youthful pre-walking movements first!

So here’s what a quick pre-walk movement series will do for you: They warm up your walk. They get the body and brain working together with the youthful habits you choose. Personally, I do them every day with my morning Wizard’s. And because I speak publically, I would never dream of walking on stage cold, without warming up my body first- no one would listen!

So here are some fantastic pre-walk exercises- do everything 10 times:

1. Roll your shoulders around and breathe in deeply and lift up tall.
2. Turn your head gently in a pulled up circle. Pull the head up with an imaginary string BEFORE you move your head around. Don’t grind the head down, lift up tall first and then move the head gently in a circle. (Speak to your doctor if you have neck concerns.)
3. Swing your arms back and forth with your legs slightly bent at the knees, and then shake your hands out.
4. Hold onto something solid and swing one leg at a time, forward and backward, leaning away from the moving leg to not hit the floor with your shoe or foot. Relax the leg, especially on the way back. Stay up tall.
5. Then walk a few steps forward in the space you have, and practice this walking with all the first four steps we just covered: Relax the shoulders and head, breathe in deeply, and swing those arms and legs back and forth.
6. I myself like to add this sixth step, because it works for me: I smile and imagine I am seeing some people who are glad to see me. When I see them happy and smiling at me, I smile back. For me, keeping an imaginary group of happy people in my head works. (It was an old ballroom dancing trick I was taught: See your partner as happy with what you’re doing when you practice alone, and they are then more likely to do that in real life! It worked then, and I do this now with walking!)
7. FYI- This can also be done if you use a cane or a walker. Just do steps 1-3 while sitting and then relax those legs as best your body will allow to not get stuck with the very tools you need to move. Contact me privately if additional help is needed.

Getting the body warmed up physically in the direction you’d like is the same as what an athlete does before competing, or what the pianist does before playing. Warm it up the way you want to perform. The alternative is walking outside like you’re still in your living room in your bathrobe and slippers! Best of blessings!

~Because you’re stronger than you think, and you can do more than you know!~

John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! and
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