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One of the seemingly fundamental stages of life for most incorporate shifting from lying as a baby to the milestone of standing and walking. But, the question of do I walk properly probably rarely ever crosses anyone’s mind unless they’ve hurt themselves. This blog will break down the benefits of walking, how do you know if you are walking properly and also how to correct some of those walking postures.
Most will know that we should walk more in a day and let’s reach that arbitrary number of 10,000 steps each day because my fitbit tells me that’s right. Here’s some information that may give you some comfort to know what those steps are doing for you!
This is such a loaded question. Everyone is special and different and there are suggestions that walking is a combination of nature and nurture. Traditionally, most individuals will achieve the milestone of standing and walking and it is predictable as to the time frame in which this will happen, usually starting between months 9 and 12. However, our learned patterns of walking may well be from observing and adopting those patterns from our parents. As children, most of the patterns learned are predictable that’s why we have milestones but how those functions are accomplished are a lot more variable and we can attribute some of these habits to children watching habits that their parents may have when it comes to movement. Here are a few things to pay attention to when seeing if you walk properly:
1. Does it hurt? – if you are having pain with walking, there is a high chance that something is not working properly or is irritated and some changes may need to occur to the walking mechanics
2. Before you start walking is your body in neutral while you stand? – Neutral is a vague term so let’s break it down. Are your ears in line with your shoulders, your hips, your knees and over the middle of your foot? Bonus, are your ribs flaring forward?
3. Is your body tense while standing? – Here is a huge part of the poor habits, while you’re standing there, feel your low back. Is it soft and you can push in? Or is it tight like a metal rod?
Here is a video by the world renowned expert in spine function, injury prevention and rehabilitation, Dr. Stuart Mcgill from Backfitpro Inc., offering some amazing value on how to walk properly especially with back pain. (This video is embedded from his recent facebook video found on https://www.facebook.com/Backfitpro)
To recap some of the corrections:
1. If your low back is tight like a metal rod when you check it then you will have to find that mid zone where it will relax and to test it further, treat your ankles like a hinge and lean forward (putting pressure into the toes) and leaning back (putting pressure into the heels) without activating your back! Think of the leaning tower! (It is harder than it sounds!)
2. Jazz knees! To shake out some of the tension in the thighs and legs as standing shouldn’t be that strenuous on the body!
3. If the low back is still tight after this, try some pelvic tilts and modifications while checking the low back to see if the back tension can turn off. Try lifting the chin or even the chest a little bit and see if that makes a difference.
4. Stand on one leg and lift the opposite knee, does this cause pain? If it does, use your hands to push into your sides of your belly and fight against it. Retry lifting your leg, has the pain gone away? (this may be a strategy to help you) Try the same thing with knee circles and see if you can move without pain.
5. Now try walking with the appropriate belly bracing and walk with swinging your arms in a relaxed way!
Some of these tips and changes can be very challenging to accomplish especially if you are experiencing pain. If your low back is having a lot of challenges check out this blog about how to pick up objects off the ground as that is likely a challenge for you as well. If pain persists and is affecting your life, it is highly suggested that you go see a trusted health practitioner to assist you and get you back to walking without pain since there’s so many benefits to walking.
As always, if you have any questions about your conditions and would like to schedule an appointment with us at Baseline Health and Wellness you can give us a call at 6046744027 or schedule online at www.baselinewellness.ca
Provided by Dr. Kody Au, Vancouver Chiropractor