Do you need to improve your walk?
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk. If you ask anyone that knows me the will tell you I love to watch how people move.
Not to poke fun of them. But it’s like a puzzle to me. Why does this not move?
Or why does that go that way when this goes this way?
See how they swing their leg when they walk, but only on the left side?
All these little things started from something.
An injury. A pattern. A pair of shoes. A particular lifestyle choice that has now rearranged muscles and tissues all around their bodies and as a result. Things just don’t move quite right when they walk.
Most people are unconscious of these issues when they first start. And many go unnoticed until an injury or pain occurs. And when this then happens, the moment it occurred is usually blamed for the reason of the issue or injury. When more than likely what caused it has been an accumulation over time, you adapting to your environment.
What is the environment your feet are kept in on a daily basis? How long do you keep those casts on your feet also known as shoes? Have you ever flipped over those casts of yours and looked at the worn down tread underneath? Check out VeryWellFit.com article on reading the tread on the bottom of your shoe.
A fair amount of people unfortunately wear ill fitting shoes and shoes that do not communicate well with the rest of the body. And it is only a matter of time before your body tells you it does not like it’s current situation.
Wondering how you can improve your walk today?
Here are 10 quick ways to improve your walk today!
1. Check the current state of your shoes. Flip those babies over and check the tread. And take note. Is the tread worn off on the edges? Heel? Only one side? Do your feet spill out the sides of your shoes? This will give you insight as to how your foot strikes the ground. But more importantly how your hip and foot communicate.
2. While walking feel and tune into how and when your foot actually meets the ground. Do you feel a slight skid or drag on one or both feet? Do you constantly stub your toe on only one side? Do one or both of your feet point any other direction than forward? The moment you become more conscious of something is the moment you can begin to create a pathway to change.
3. Try to walk with your feet forward. I know it may sound basic. But it can often be easier said than done. Focus on rolling through the middle of your foot for a complete take off. Not only will this improve the function of your feet, but it can ease pain on your knees and hips brought on by how you walk. As I tell all my students: “If you are going forward, your feet should be pointing forward”.
4. Have someone watch you walk. Sounds silly I know, but they can offer you feedback in real time as to what you are doing and you may not even know it. And have them assess your entire body. Do you swing only one arm? Lean forward. Limp? Swing your left leg? Drag your right foot? Are you a speedy walker? Do your feet cross the mid-line? Feedback is key to assessing for a change.
5. Can you extend your hip? What is your hip range of motion? Do you only walk with your legs in front of you? Do you walk from your knees down? Practice hip extension by practicing lunging, or practice walking and make sure your leg actually extends behind you when you walk. This doubles as a stretch after all that sitting. (Those that sit often struggle with this) Check out this video to find out more about how to improve your walk.
6. Take your shoes off. Yes. your shoes, your casts need to be removed! And even if that just means relaxing or hanging out in your rig barefoot. Do it! Or better yet, log into Mother Trucker Yoga’s online studio and do some yoga!
7. Roll out your feet. Your body is held together by a sea of tone. Also known as fascia! And that fascia is either like a piece of plastic or elastic. Wearing shoes all day do not help turn that plastic back into elastic. Try a acuBall to help break all that plastic up. Have plantar fasciitis (check out this article I wrote on MindBodyGreen on the subject)? Then you don’t want to skip this step. Check out this video for how to roll out your feet. And grab your acuBall in our MTY store.
8. Stretch your hip. A pain in your hip can mess with your gait (fancy word for walk/stride). Every morning when you wake up take 30 seconds on each side and stretch your hip out. Be ready to feel some tightness, but what you will feel afterward is relief! Mother Trucker Yoga suggests trying the seated Figure 4 stretch!
9. Stretch your calves. Your calf is not only the hydraulic pump to pump blood flow back up to your heart. But they also serve as a springboard in your walk and and releasing them will give your knees, arches and ankles relief. Try hanging your heels of the step of your rig for a quick once over!
10. Challenge yourself and walk on different surfaces. We live in a concrete jungle so whenever you get the opportunity, change it up. Grass, gravel, dirt, rocks. And ask you walk tune into how your body responds to the ground beneath you. Not only will your feet enjoy the change of pace. But so will the rest of the muscles in your body.
It is vital to not over-complicate the changes you want to make in your life. But also don’t just think about the changes you hope to make. Don’t say you are going to make the tomorrow. Start today! Start today, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to take up all your free time. It just needs to happen. Let your allies at Mother Trucker Yoga support and help you along the way.