When your arms and legs barely move while walking, you know that you have movement dysfunction. Don’t fall prey to slouching. Lift your breast bone, swing legs freely from hips, walk with head raised high, and point foot forward. A correct posture takes strain off your back muscles and relieves you of the head, neck, and shoulder pain.
If you watch other people walk, you may notice that some of them swing their arms but a few don’t. Some take long strides and some take short little shuffling steps, more like gliding than walking. Their feet barely lift from the ground.
The people who barely move their arms and legs when they walk are suffering from movement dysfunctions. But you can learn how to walk with your whole body in a way that creates wellness!
There was a time when I had definite movement dysfunctions. I realized this when I was walking with my friend. I turned my face to talk and noticed that while my feet were at the same place as his, my head and upper body were a good solid twelve inches farther forward than his head. That was before I knew what I know now but I became aware that I had a problem!
Actually, I had more than one problem. My body was twisted to one side because of scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and a short leg and my flat feet pitched me forward. No wonder I suffered from really bad migraine headaches all the time.
So I learned how to walk. I also got a lift for the shoe of my short leg. Much better!
When you walk correctly, it’s a beautiful thing. Your arms swing at your sides easily and comfortably. Your legs move in a smooth, graceful rhythm. There is no strain in your neck or in the muscles on the tops of your shoulders.
If you watch small children or toddlers walking, you will see that they hold their head right over their body. It balances perfectly on their spine. The curves in their spine support their ability to walk.
When we get older, we sometimes fall into all types of bad postures, slumping and slouching. We try to fit into furniture that doesn’t fit us or drive cars that force our heads forward. Some of us actually get ‘stuck’ in those poor positions — our muscles become used to being in those positions.
But bodies can change. You can learn how to walk to create wellness!
Here’s the plan:
You will discover how to walk with your body tall and proud (even if you are short.) You will learn how to move your arms to propel yourself most easily through space. And you will learn how to use your feet and legs efficiently. If any of these movements feel uncomfortable or unnatural to you, it is because your body is used to working incorrectly.
Don’t force the movements as your body will adapt over time and the movements will become easier. When you are standing and walking straight and strong, with your head over your body like that toddler, it takes the strain off your back muscles. It also takes pressure off your lungs, stomach, and intestines.
Ways To Walk Correctly
- Pretend there is a long length of string attached to the crown of your head. It’s pulling you up to the sky. At the same time, there is a length of string attached to your breast bone. It’s also lifting you upward. When you do this movement, you may notice that you will develop an inward curve in your lower back, at your waist. This is good. The toddler has this curve and you should, too. Okay, now you’ve got the body part so let’s move on to the arms.
- When you lift your breast bone, your arms will naturally move into a more neutral position next to your body. Let them swing back and forth from the shoulder with your thumbs pointing forward, as though you are going to shake hands. Rolling your hands so your thumbs point forward helps place your arms in the correct position.
- Legs should swing freely from the hips. If you’re not sure what that feels like, stand in a doorway and put one foot on a book. Swing your other leg back and forth to get the feel of that easy movement in the hip joint. Now switch to the other leg. Practice walking for a few moments. Let your legs swing easily from the hips as they did when you were standing on the book with one foot.
- While you are walking, pay attention to your knees. Do they feel tight or ‘locked’? We want soft knees. When you stand and walk, your knees should be relaxed, almost as though you could collapse. Practice letting your knees feel soft and relaxed when you stand and then when you walk. Don’t let them ‘lock back’ when you swing your legs.
- Your feet play a very important part in walking correctly, too. Ideally, your foot will be pointing forward and will first contact the ground with the heel. And then it will roll forward to push off with your toes. Heel, roll, push off. This complete foot movement uses the leg muscles correctly to avoid leg pain and dysfunction. Yes, there are shoes that will ‘roll’ your foot because they have rounded bottoms but they don’t allow normal movement.What happens to your body when you walk correctly
What Happens To Your Body
When you walk correctly:
- You avoid head, neck and shoulder pain.
- Your lungs, heart, stomach and other organs have plenty of space to function properly.
- Your joints move smoothly to avoid pain and dysfunction.