Gait Basics Out In the World!

Over the past 8 weeks we've started on the ground floor and worked our way up to the penthouse. We've considered the key aspects of movement health and looked at how each piece of the system effects every other piece.

We've got a set practice (Gait Basics, repeated one more time at the end of the blog) that need only take 10 minutes a day, but can take much longer if you are inspired to delve deeper. You have the option of breaking it into smaller chunks and it can all be done while moving around out in the world.

So now it is over to you for the next few weeks as we take a break. As well as Gait Basics to keep you going I have included a video of me instructing hip lift and reach. A great all rounder somatic exercise and a lovely unwind. I've also included a helpful way to approach optimal walking out in the world. I hope to see you next term for Series 4, Nutritious Movement.

 This is me (on the floor) being instructed in Rhomboid Pushups in Amsterdam. Check the writing on the blackboard behind me, not an exam question fortunately! It is actually  not  your typical strenuous push up - there is no elbow bend. It  is  a wonderful way to release tension in the upper back and improve shoulder girdle function.  Notice how wide my fingers are spread - I'm aiming for 90 degrees between thumb and index finger and no clawed hands (keep up those hand stretches over the holidays) and elbow pits forward. This allows external rotation of the shoulders. This is something that we've started to look at in classes this term, but will delve deeper in Series 4 - so make sure you work on your Hand Stretch every day so you are ready. See below.

This is me (on the floor) being instructed in Rhomboid Pushups in Amsterdam. Check the writing on the blackboard behind me, not an exam question fortunately! It is actually not your typical strenuous push up - there is no elbow bend. It is a wonderful way to release tension in the upper back and improve shoulder girdle function.  Notice how wide my fingers are spread - I'm aiming for 90 degrees between thumb and index finger and no clawed hands (keep up those hand stretches over the holidays) and elbow pits forward. This allows external rotation of the shoulders. This is something that we've started to look at in classes this term, but will delve deeper in Series 4 - so make sure you work on your Hand Stretch every day so you are ready. See below.

 A reminder about your Hand Stretch (so your ready for even more shoulder care in Series 4): Starting with palm up, pull each finger down towards the floor. For thumb: Start in "Hitch-Hiker" position. Gently pull thumb away from fingers as well as stretch thumb joint in 360 degrees.

A reminder about your Hand Stretch (so your ready for even more shoulder care in Series 4): Starting with palm up, pull each finger down towards the floor. For thumb: Start in "Hitch-Hiker" position. Gently pull thumb away from fingers as well as stretch thumb joint in 360 degrees.

Set Yourself Up To Win
I'm a big believer in setting yourself up to win.
Set realistic goals. Even 2 minutes twice a day of something would be a great start. This is more effective than doing an hour of something every 2 weeks for example - you are aiming to create new and lasting habits of self-care. Leave your 1/2 dome in the bath room and calf stretch twice a day while you brush your teeth. Be a real smarty and add the ankle stretch too. Your teeth will also be happy as you might spend longer on both as you notice things improving. Repetition gets results. The people who do something every day are the ones who come to me and say how much better they are feeling.

Too Tired To Stand
If you are weary and can't face moving - then you have the Psoas Release options. We've looked at so many variations on that theme this term, when in doubt bolster yourself up and work on your breathing as you rest and restore. No bolster? No worries. A sleeping bag tightly rolled up and tucked into it's cover works really well too. Remember you'll be taking care of your emotional/mental health here as well as you nourish the nervous system.

Or Just Get Down and Roll Around on the Floor
I love our somatic work, both because it feels good during and after, but also because it helps us unwind the patterns that make it more challenging to move well. Here is a clip of me instructing one of my most loved sequences Hip Lift and Lower. It increases movement in the shoulder and pelvic girdles as it releases the tension in the torso that makes it so much harder to move freely.
 

Hip Lift and Reach. Please modify as needed and when in doubt listen to your own body. You are the most reliable expert on you!


Working Towards Optimal Walking:

It can be overwhelming to try and remember all the variables, so instead keep it simple and enjoyable. Take one idea at a time and focus on that for 10 minutes or so, then work on another. You can only absorb one new motor skill at a time, and it takes consistency and repetition to really lay down those new movement tracks.

Try this:

1st 10 minutes: Feet straight ahead
2nd 10 minutes: Feet true hip distance apart
3rd 10 minutes: Arm Swing (gently draw back and let fall through - you might enjoy Katy Bowman's "Gotta Get Down to Arm Swing Town" for a refresher class on this over the holidays)


Daily Maintenance Week 8:

(Restorative Exercise Gait Essentials program)

Foot Alignment - The muscles in your legs and pelvis don't work correctly unless the feet point straight ahead when you walk. (Much like the balance of the tires of your car). Use the straight edge of your yoga mat, floor boards or similar to line up the outside edges of your feet (true hip distance apart).

Calf Stretch - 30 seconds to one minute each side, at least twice a day

Foot Stretch - 30 seconds to one minute each side, at least twice a day - if the top of your foot is very tight you can try the chair version.

Knee Cap Release - Start with straight legs and try to lift and lower your knee caps. Find a wall to lean against if you are having difficulty standing. Start off with the feet about 30cm away. Once you've achieved the Knee Cap Release here move a little closer. 30 seconds to one minute - or any time you find yourself standing around!

Monster Walk - With or without resistance band. Feet are straight, hip width apart. If using the band keep tension on it. Your weight is in your heels. Start at one end of your mat, hips forward and move sideways - one step at a time. Go up and down your mat around 4 to 6 times.

Double Calf Stretch - Place your hands on the seat of a kitchen/desk chair. Line up the outside edges of your feet and straighten your legs all the way. Your weight should be back in your heels and all your toes lift-able. See if you can lift your tailbone up to the ceiling without bending your knees. 30 seconds to a minute, twice a day.

Final Tip To Keep It Fresh is to Experiment:
You might try doing a combination of calf stretch and monster walk before a walk out in the world. So you get those muscles long and primed before you head off. Making it that much easier to focus on how you move. Things will just feel stronger and freer. Try other combinations too.

While you are out walking, stop and do a double calf stretch. A back of a bench in a park works really well for this. Then you can take it into a thoracic stretch by letting the chest drop down between your arms. No fancy gear needed and plenty of photos throughout this blog for you to refer to. I have to sign this one off as it is already way too long.

Take care everyone. See you soon X Mel

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OK. One PS. If you've read this far you can probably handle a bit more - Katy Bowman's new book is a great way to transition into minimal shoes and work on your movement health. You'll recognise a lot of the things we do in classes but also have the opportunity to explore other aspects of what sort of things impact how we move. This link will take you to options for the paperback, e-book or even a talking book. I often listen to movement health books when I'm out walking, that way you can apply the theory straight away.