The first thing I look at after helping a client develop good standing posture is the way the client walks. Walking is something we do all the time, so it’s a good thing to be aware of and to develop as a way to improve your posture and overall level of fitness.
Do you hear yourself “thumping along” as you walk? If so, your entire body could benefit if you developed a better, healthier walking style.
Yes, even if you’ve walked this way your whole life, with increased awareness and with small changes, you can alter the way you walk! Clients I used to recognize just by how they walked down the hall to my studio now walk quietly…and clients who overran their shoes to one side have now learned to walk evenly on their feet, saving their shoes and their body from further damage.
I do want to warn you that you may want to practice the following at home first!
You want to walk tall, up straight, light on your feet, engaged from your center. First, of course, you need to remember and apply the basics:
Stand tall, like a “Puppet on a string.”
Lift your chest, shoulders back.
Zipper zipped, dime pinched.
Knees soft, thighs parallel.
As you take a step, make sure you put your heel down first. Land on it softly – don’t bang it into the ground!
Roll forward on your foot, moving your weight to the ball of your foot.
Pay attention to your big toe, which will provide you with balance as you push off to finish your step.
Walk on all four corners of your foot and make sure your feet are pointing forward.
Lift your foot after each step. (Shuffling or dragging your feet can lead to trips, falls, and injuries.)
Holding onto your dime and pinching your butt cheeks may mean that you’ll be taking shorter steps. That’s OK! You will determine your own comfortable gait. Pacing yourself to keep in your optimum range of motion will help you to avoid popping back or locking your knees with each step. Keeping your mind on your core will help you maintain good posture and help keep your thighs aligned and your feet parallel.
When it comes to curbs or steps, lift your leg from your abs and the hamstrings in the back of your thighs then lower your foot gently onto the step. If the lift comes from the front of the leg, you may tend to bend forward and lose your center of balance – making you more likely to fall forward. Try to keep your head up and core engaged.
You may feel awkward as you readjust your step and your stance. You might feel like you’re walking with your chest sticking out. So, yes, practicing at home is a good thing to do. It is so worth it, though, because walking correctly can definitely help you avoid injuries and improve your overall fitness.
Always keep in mind, Darla says walking correctly is a good workout!