You can tell a lot by how someone struts their stuff. You can tell their mood by the skip in their step and if you are really being observant, you can even spot potential dysfunction and injury. We walk every day, up to a recommended 10,000 steps.

But do you know if you’re walking properly?

Let’s look at the movement patterns behind walking and find out what you can do to improve your gait.

We Talk Walking for Granted

It comes naturally to most of us, but there’s a lot happening behind the scenes when we walk. Our body is an integrated system and we can’t separate the human body and decide a joint or muscle group can work in isolation.

Thanks to evolution and human adaptation, this transition has allowed us to carry out more complex movements and tasks and challenged the body to cope with different stresses and demands, like walking.

“Walking is a [hu]man’s best medicine.” – Hippocrates

It Starts with Your Feet

Most of us neglect our feet by spending more time confining them into shoe boxes, or foot condoms. Our feet have thousands of nerve endings that provide important sensory feedback to our brain. If we constantly keep them covered and compressed, we reduce our connection with the ground through layers of padding.

By doing this we are not only dulling messages and communication in our body but disconnecting part of our body from our mind. This can impact neural links, balance, mobility, strength and other joints up the chain.

“When ‘cute’ shoes create deformed feet maybe it’s time to rethink how we view footwear” – The Foot Collective

Tips for Protecting Your Feet

  1. Wear shoes less– Spend some time being barefoot and limit your time in uncomfortable footwear that are not shaped to your foot.
  2. Improve your foot mobility– Counteract the time you restrict your feet and spend a few minutes each day completing exercises to help your foot mobility. Some ways to improve mobility include:
  • Grabbing a lacrosse ball and roll out the bottom of your foot
  • Kicking your shoes off and put toe spreaders on “Wringing out your foot” by intertwining your fingers between your toes and mobilising with small movements.
  1. Try a balancing act– Stay on your feet and challenge your proprioception by practicing your balance as it helps to keep your feet stronger and more responsive. Your feet are the first ‘call to action’ when you need to keep your centre of mass.

Walk Your Way

We started from the bottom, now we here; Efficient gait mechanics incorporates all the above to unify and create a sustainable pattern. Make sure your training programs encompass movements that work these slings specifically, so you can have a spring in your step.

If you’ve suffered an injury or simply need help to improve your gait, our Exercise Physiologists can prescribe exercises to improve your movement patterns and help you to walk more efficiently.

Phone 6122 0150 to book your appointment with one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists.