In a previous post about Integration Activities, we introduced you to the Power Walk. This simple and powerful exercise is a favorite at Pathfinders. Today, we are going to talk a little more about how it works and give you some fun new ways to enhance your Power Walk.
The Power Walk, also known as the Infinity Walk, is deceptively simple: walk in a figure-8. That’s the basic first step of the Power Walk. You want the two sides of your 8 to be circular and of similar size. Try to walk over the same imaginary figure-8 every time you walk a lap. Notice how your legs and arms move. Are they moving symmetrically? Do they look different depending on the side of the 8 you’re on? You want to work toward a symmetrical figure-8 with coordinated body movements and at a slow, relaxed speed.
Once you can walk in a slow relaxed manner over the same sized- and shaped- Power Walk, you can add a focal point. This should be placed to the side of your figure-8 at the midpoint, where the two circles meet. When you begin your Power Walk, start at the midpoint of the 8 and move up to the left. Your focal point should be directly behind you when you begin your walk (this will allow you to maintain fixation on your focal point during your walk). Your focal point can be as simple as an X on the wall at eye level or your favorite poster or a TV screen.
The figure-8 shape requires you to switch dominance between the two sides of your body. On one side, your right foot is dominant, on the outside of the circle. On the other side, your left foot is dominant. With a focal point, your visual dominance switches with every lap. If your focal point is a TV screen or a friend asking you challenging questions, you are switching dominance in your ears, too.
The two sides of your brain are forced to work together when you switch dominant sides. This promotes better connectivity in your brain, which can lead to faster processing speed and better body coordination. This is one of our favorite warm-ups at Pathfinders. It gets the body moving as it prepares the brain for the challenges of the session. This is the perfect break activity if our students are getting stuck during the session and need a brain boost.
A Power Walk would be great to combine with your morning sound therapy. Your child might want to Power Walk in the last few minutes at recess to get ready to work in the classroom. Stiff in body and mind at work? Take a 5-minute Power Walk and teach your coworkers about your brain boost. When homework is getting frustrating, moving away from the desk into a Power Walk can be a great remedy to get back on track.
Remember that friend asking you challenging questions? Once you’ve mastered the Power Walk with a focal point, you can challenge yourself with mental activities. Have a friend or family member ask you riddles or silly questions. Can you name a color every time you cross the middle of your 8? How about zoo animals or Beatles song titles? Can you finger tap at the same time? Can you describe your childhood bedroom in detail? Can your child spell his spelling words while he Power Walks?
The Power Walk might look a little silly to those who don’t know how powerful it is. The next time you need to pace out of worry or frustration, try a figure-8 instead and see if you can reorder your thoughts. It is always a good time for a Power Walk.
How many challenges can you do at the same time during your Power Walk? Let us know below in the comments.