There are many layers to walking well and one of them is to gradually introduce more of it into your life, and in more ways……So not just the usual routes, but vary them. My favourite family wide game is to limit how much we use the car. Especially on weekends we grab our backpacks and either head to the market or the other shops within about an 8km radius and doing our shopping that way.
Our third backpack is going off to university soon, but it’s been a really enjoyable addition to our lives. On weekdays Bart and I challenge ourselves to vary up our walks each day and a single leg balance at the traffic lights or a squat to give Bart a pat and just some of the ways we keep things interesting….(and if you’d told me 5 years ago I’d be walking everywhere I would have said, no way, no time….but it’s amazing how new habits creep in when you give them a chance to really take root…..and you feel the benefits).
Optimal Walking….week by week
The strength, space and motor skills we are working on take time and repetition to develop, so please don’t feel that you need to be fluent in all of these ideas already, but here is where we have covered so far:
Week 1 - revealing your masks (or compensations)
Once you’ve found them you can work on letting them go. For e.g. in a single leg balance you might need to bolster by holding onto a chair to be able to relax the quadriceps of the standing leg but with practice the need for the bolster lessens. There are lots of ways we mask as we discovered in classes.
Week 2 - hip extension (pg 172, Move Your DNA)
Did you notice the ways we distort the body to take the leg back behind us? (a key element of walking well) Great! Because that’s your incentive to practice your iliac release, lunges and quadriceps releases as often as you can. With their help the need to compensate eases greatly.
Week 3 - knee cap release and external thigh rotation (Page 74 -78, Dynamic Aging and various MYDNA)
Are your kneecaps really releasing with ease? Have you practiced in front of a mirror recently? It’s an important motor skill and often we don’t realise just how much we are clenching the quadriceps (and toes and so on). It’s well worth working on and you can do that any time you are in a chair or standing up too. Neutral knee pitts (external thigh rotation) will be a lot more feasible when our knee caps are released so they go together nicely. They are important for your mobility, your bone density, pelvic floor health and more. Here is a great video from Katy Bowman which refreshes knee cap release and external thigh rotation.
Each week we’ll weave the ideas of the previous weeks into the class so you can keep reinforcing them to yourself. These are the things I think about every day when I’m moving around. Even now while I type this I’m standing on a pressure point mat, in external rotation of the thighs, toes and knees released and weight back over heels. I can feel my shoulders getting a bit stiff from the typing so shortly I’ll be doing some upper body releases too. Classes are great, but it’s the real world where we are going to get most of our movement (or lack thereof!) So get moving groovers and I’ll see you out in the world (standing on one leg hopefully) ;-)