When you hit the streets walking, do you take time to “get set” and establish a good walking posture, striding correctly and energetically? Are you instead, more worried about how fast you can get there and what you need to do?
During my years in the gym, I have seen many different foot falls and walking adaptations including duck foot turnout, slamming feet down, flatfooted walk, shuffling along and short strides.
How we walk can tell us many things about how we are doing along the path of life. Discussing each of these issues and corrective exercises would be tedious and I believe, not effective enough individually.
Instead, I prefer to discuss walking as an art form, a creative process where we gather our entire body into a graceful and youthful group of movements.
Let’s look at duck feet turnout. Even though you may be sending your feet off in different directions, we can still look up and image balancing a book on top of our heads, while swinging our arms energetically, lifting the chest up and moving forward with vigor.
Slamming our feet down when walking (for instance, on the treadmill) happens unconsciously until someone else notices. I like to suggest stepping as lightly as possible, heel to toe, making “zero” noise. Absolutely quiet walking requires attention and body awareness.
Those of us, who have stood up most of our lives, may have developed a “non-arch” foot (flatfooted) walk. However, a good arch can return if we train and strengthen the bottom of the foot by mimicking picking up marbles with our toes two hundred times or more a week.
Lastly, slow shuffling and short strides are usually the result of loss of balance, hearing, seeing and strength. Being careful not to fall becomes an increasingly important goal as we grow up.
However, you can improve your confidence, strength, balance and walking gait by performing standup/sitdowns, marching in place with high knees, opening the chest by stretching in a corner, lifting heels up and down, plus imagining squeezing your buttocks muscles when you walk (holding on to a $100 bill).
It’s really about deciding on a walking attitude! Do we just walk or can we “walk this way” as a pattern of life with energy, youthfulness and lightness.