How to move like a French woman – Part Two
Ready to achieve the effortless, elegant je ne sais quoi of a French woman?
Then get walking!
In this blog post, you will learn how to enjoy walking as a natural and simple part of your everyday life, just as our Gallic sisters do so well.
The first trick is to view your walk (and indeed, any physical activity you choose to take part in), as an opportunity to achieve balance and harmony.
So my first piece of advice is to avoid congested streets, and refrain from carrying heavy bags as much as you possibly can. Carrying emotional and physical weight in this way not only limits your freedom of movement, it may also create a subconscious incentive to avoid walking another time!
Choose your route
Parks and quiet roads are wonderful places to walk, and I especially enjoy a country escape for the feeling of freedom and fresh air it brings.
But I also enjoy people watching, and there’s nothing wrong with indulging that with a walk in an air-conditioned shopping centre from time to time!
You will know your own walking preferences, so indulge them as best you can. Changing it up every now and again will bring brand-new scenery, and new opportunities to discover what you enjoy
It’s all part of the journey.
What to wear?
The common idea of French women is that they are impossibly glamorous, but even they wouldn’t attempt a long walk in high heels!
The same principle goes for garish trainers, or shoes that just don’t make you feel – or look – good.
You’ll need a comfortable spring in your step, so invest in a good-looking pair of shoes that make your heart soar at the idea of pulling them on and heading out for a walk. Pumps are a good option, as are Fit Flops, and there are plenty of online outlets offering them at great discounts (ASOS Shoes are one of my favourites).
Posture and breath
If you’re a Pilates fan, you may remember its core principle is to “look interested”. This is a principle that can be easily incorporated into your walking routine.
Walk tall, and focus your attention into the horizon. You will notice your surroundings much more, and you may even discover new things about your old neighbourhood that you would never otherwise notice!
You may also be surprised at the number of people who notice and engage with you, all triggered by your natural air of positivity.
Stay in the moment
Being aware of every moment during your walk will heighten the satisfaction it brings.
To achieve this, just follow these easy Stride Technique principles:
- Draw shoulder blades together.
- Push off your toes (if you feel too bouncy, you are coming off the balls of your feet).
- Allow your arms to move freely, using them positively.
- Breathe – try only breathing through your nose using a yoga-style breath (which is a tiny bit like snoring!)
Moving on up
Adding height to your walk adds a lovely lift, not only to your spirit, but also to your bottom!
French women always take the stairs, not the lift, and we should all try to do the same. A fantastic calorie-burner, you’ll consume 1,000 calories per hour of stair-climbing.
While I’m not suggesting you go that far, especially at first, I do suggest you seek out stairs wherever you can. Even tackling two flights will make a difference.
Why I walk
Walking isn’t just about emulating the classic French woman. For me, it remains the ultimate time for freedom of thought, and for liberating tensions that all comes from the mind naturally following the body.
When you become aware of existing, walking becomes an extra-special indulgence. The images and noise the world tries to press on us seem to completely disappear, and before long you will naturally choose to head out for a walk whenever you need to de-stress or find clarity.
You may find it takes time to become truly comfortable with the idea of being alone in your own space, but I promise you, it will be worth it.
Time to ditch the step trackers?
Don’t fixate on how many steps you take, or how many calories you burn. These turn waking into a chore, with ego-based measurements that bring about feelings of stress and failure.
Instead, listen to your body, and try to give it what it needs. The best thing about developing a walking routine is that all ages and abilities can benefit enormously, as you focus on pure escape, simply walking for the sake of enjoyment.
As French women know so well, walking is one of the best-kept secrets to staying satisfied, trim, and independent.
We’ll be focusing on easy, non-gadget exercise in our next post.
Until then, why not start the year as you mean to go on? Join us at a friendly Stride session, surrounded by a fun and like-minded group of walkers, and begin your journey to feeling free and fabulous.
To find out more, simply contact me on 07967 705547