Saturday, February 2, 2013

Walking: Moving To The Music.

There is a rhythm, a gait, a pace that we set to our walking. We carry ourselves like a song. Some days we drag ourselves around as though our world is accompanied by a slow moving second movement to that symphony that is our life. Some days it is the upbeat bop-around bouncing on our toes to the tune of J-Lo. Some days we walk with tears in our eyes and move as though life is truly entwined in the great drama that is an opera. Take a look at Dame Janet Baker singing the aria When I am Laid in Earth from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Watch how the slow, lament of a song matches her movements.

Our arms naturally swing with our step. Our hips sway, we bounce, we sink down then swell up again. Walking is like a piano concerto where our feet sets the time and the rest of our limbs fall into place at the appropriate moment. Our body works together with all the parts including the brain. The following clip shows in detail how our bodies move with music and how the different part naturally move in sync. The conductor in particular is the embodiment of the song. He may not be walking but it is clear he cannot stop his feet from moving.

It is interesting how our emotions influence our movement. We think then all of a sudden our thoughts travel to our feet and we are storming out the door in anger to take a walk. Walking is an escape from the world when it closes in on us. We naturally look for the open sky and physiologically we feel the need to get the blood pumping through our system.
Walking soothes our minds. I don't know where the thoughts go, but I have walked enough to know that upon returning from one of my marches or ambles I feel my head is clear.
Watch the following Foo Fighters video where Dave Grohl takes an interesting walk. You can see the change in gait depending on the how he is feeling.

We walk to expel from our spirits the thoughts that plague us. When we are angry or restless or under pressure we walk. The very act of walking to the tune of the nature that surrounds us has a tendency to calm us. Subconsciously the sounds of the birds, the wind through trees, the swish of traffic in the distance all serves as accompaniment to the song that walks with us.

What is the soundtrack to your life?

I take a walk. I walk everyday to whatever tune has been preset by my mood. If I want to change my mood I change the settings on my inner radio. I walk with soundtracks. When I am running late for work I walk to the Stones Sympathy for the devil or Barbara Streisand by Duck Sauce. When I have time to daydream I may walk to James Blunt or Pink Floyd, Ifnatree or Coldplay.

As I head out for a walk my spirit is a little fun today so I leave you with Nancy Sinatra.....what would a post be about walking and music and movement if I didn't leave you with a link to her These Boots Are Made For Walking?!


  1. So interesting... I never walk with music... or almost never... I walk for the quiet, and to hear the sounds around me that I normally overlook! I'll take a walk on a volcano in Bali for you today! :)

  2. When you walk long distances, you end up with internal earworms that you can`t shake. Thereafter, it reminds you of that place and day. What was annoying at the time becomes a tender nostalgia later. Steve Winwood`s Bring Me A Higher Love will forever remind me of the stretch of meseta near Leon. The road was long and hot and studded with stones. Some pilgrims brought their i-pods in anticipation of this day, wondering how else they would get through 17km of nothing but grass and sky. (Honestly!).
    I was happy with the birds and the wind, but the rhythm of my step soon introduced Stevie into the mix. I must have been feeling jaunty. Although outside I appeared to be trudging along, there was an undeniable little syncopation and a skip in the step internal.