The Least Known and Most Powerful Benefit of Walking

I recently rediscovered the universal benefits of regular brisk walking in my own day-to-day lifewalking. After several months during which knee arthritis limited my mobility, my weight was creeping up, my stamina was down, my body was feeling unusually stiff, weak and tired, and my monthly spending on taxis was ballooning. In January, after receiving hyaluronic acid treatments at the Hospital for Special Surgery, my discomfort resolved dramatically and I happily returned to my regular walking program. Almost immediately, I felt lighter, more balanced and more energetic. Most people know that science has long supported regular brisk walking as a way to maintain a healthy weight, boost heart health, prevent or manage high blood pressure, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve balance and coordination. What most people don’t realize is that there’s also an energetic explanation for the health benefits of walking.

Neuroscientists have long known that the right hemisphere of the brain controls the muscles of the left side of the body and vice versa. Similarly, energy crosses over from each side of the brain to the opposite side of the body. These lateral crossing patterns of energy can be found throughout an optimally functioning body, from the organs and cells right up to the aura that surrounds it. As we walk, our left arm swings forward naturally coordinating with our right leg as it steps forward and vice versa. Similar patterns occur when we swim, use an elliptical machine or simply march in place. This oppositional movement of upper and lower body in our physical body is called “cross-patterning” and helps facilitate healthy crossing over in our energy body.

When your energies are not adequately crossing over, you are in a “homolateral state” and have access to only about 50% of your energies. Reverting to a homolateral energy pattern is your body’s way of trying to slow you down so you can rest, heal or re-group, but it can become a bad energetic habit – similar to the way poor posture is a bad physical habit. While walking is usually a great way to get your energies crossing over and improving brain-body communication, sometimes a homolateral pattern is so ingrained that walking can just exhaust you even more. If you are chronically homolateral you may feel: your senses dulled, less alive, physically sluggish, depressed, unable to think clearly or focus, chronically fatigued or clumsier than usual.

Fortunately, there is a deceptively simple energy exercise that retrains energy patterns stuck in homolateral. Doing the simple energy correction in this video daily, especially right before you begin any cross-patterning movement, will help retrain your energies to flow in their naturally beneficial figure-8 patterns and will help keep your energy and physical bodies humming along in tune with each other.

2 thoughts on “The Least Known and Most Powerful Benefit of Walking

  1. carolinejumpertz

    Super interesting Sheryl – I’ve recently resumed swimming regularly after a long break (6.5 years to be exact) and this really rings true for me. The whole body nature of the movement, and the cross-patterning that you mention, certainly seems to have benefits way beyond just fitness, stamina and exercise. I never feel better than when I’m swimming or walking regularly!


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