In July, we created a solution to help the foot and ankle function better to transition to a barefoot walking program. In this program, we will show you how you can create health in the body through the locomotion of gait (walking) and restore some communication to the body through the various joints by manipulating your body’s response to gravity and ground reaction force.
The biggest misconception of movement is that muscles move us. Muscles react because of our position relative to gravity. As such, gravity is what moves us. When you start walking from a still position, you do not think about what muscles need to activate or engage to initiate the first step. You don’t believe me? Try it. Stand still and then consciously think about what muscle you will start with. Now imagine if you had to do that all the time. We would run out of brain power really quickly. In fact, all you have to do is lean in the direction you want to travel and shazam! You are walking.
Since the body responds to gravity, this program is designed around creating unique responses to the body by manipulating walking in different ways to create variability to the tissues and joints.
Instructions: Perform each step continuously for two minutes.
- Walk normal. Go about your normal walking. Nothing crazy. Just walk. Sense what your body feels like.
- Walk with your arms overhead.
- Walk with your hands on opposite shoulders and lean to the left. Just walk. Then lean to the right. Just walk.
- Walk while twisting your hands across your body. Twist across the front leg while walking.
- Walk with your arms overhead and tilt side to side. Notice how your hips have to move side to side. Walk slowly.
- Walk with your arms overhead and turn toward your front leg as you walk.
- Walk sideways with your arms overhead.
- Walk sideways with your arms twisting side to side.
- Walk sideways with your arms overhead and side-bend toward the lead foot as you walk.
- Walk forward really low as if you are walking while crouching under a small bridge.
- Walk forward with your toes pointed toward themselves.
- Walk forward with your toes pointing away from themselves.
Retest your normal walking style. Do you feel different? Congratulations, you just used walking to make yourself feel great! Walking can be more than just how we get around the house or to work or to Starbucks.
Photo credit: Igor Alecsander, Getty Images