We all know walking is a great gentle but incredibly beneficial exercise. We all walk every day and are encouraged to walk as much as possible. But, what if how we walk has a detrimental affect on our bodies? Instead of a healthy exercise it could be exacerbating back and hip pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, headaches, shoulder pain and knee troubles.
Our poor alignment habits are carried over to our walking and lack of balance, strength or co-ordination can make walking turn into lots of moments of falling (with or without style).
Natural movement focuses on improving your alignment by releasing tension, strengthening muscles and increasing the range of movement of joints.
Limited ability to move correctly could lead to you twisting your pelvis to achieve bringing your leg forward and although we may view excessive pelvic sway as attractive it is causing a lot of wear and tear on your back and if you are pregnant will increase your risk of pelvic pain and symphysis pubis disorder.
However, getting your alignment nailed and knowing how to utilise extended arm and hip to walk can improve muscle tone (goodbye bingo wings) can improve hip strength which means you are at considerably less risk of hip degeneration, and will keep your core and pelvic floor toned and functional – among many things.
It is also important to note how much walking sticks of any description can really change how you use your arms when you walk and generally not for the better. The swing from your arms needs to come from behind rather than you bringing your arms forward and up – so pushing your arms behind and allowing the swing forward just happens – and this will protect your shoulders from damage. Especially important as we spend so much of our time with our arms up and in front of us anyway which restricts circulation to the hands.
All the work we do on mat in natural movement classes breaks down the walking gait so we can explore how our bodies are moving as we walk, we can then spend time on improving this and the improvements naturally happen as we walk.
If you would like to join a one-off class based on walking there is one running on 16th March in Ipswich please click here for more details and to book your place.
Rosie Dhoopun is a Movement Teacher based in Ipswich Suffolk. Specialising in creating a movement-rich life, pregnancy fitness and birth preparation and consulting on pelvic floor and diastasis recti rehabilitation.