I'm so happy to hand you over to Nicole Kees this week. Nic's recent Walking Workshop was brilliant so I asked her to condense some of her gems into a two part blog. You'll have to stay tuned for Part 2!
We had a very interesting chat about just how we learn to walk and stand.
As babies we insitinctively practice reflexes and responses that build the foundation for both the body and the brain to take us into an upright posture. We work towards rolling over, lifting the head off the floor and crawling cross-laterally. Reflex movements such as grasping with our hands, flaring our toes when the sole of the foot is touched, the startle reflex (arms out wide, back arched) when there is the sensation of being dropped. These are only a few but they occur, are worked on, then the response or reflex appears to pass or give way to other movements. Each response or reflex builds upon the other for that ability to stand.
Think about all the wobbling a baby does in the first couple of months of standing up, all the corrections being made, reflexes and responses that are all being utilised.
So where else do we learn our postural skills?
As it turns out very close to home. We mimic those with whom we have most contact with, especially in the early years. If you have access to photos of yourself as a toddler, pre-primary, primary school years check out how your parents, grandparents or carers stand in those photos and look at yourself. Watch for when any (if any) habits creep into your own posture.
Other places we evolve our standing and walking habits could be from dance or gymnastic classes (our little ballerinas and budding gymnasts arching their backs, thrusting ribs…), horse riding, who we hang out with in our teen years – we were laughing about the guys in their jeans where the crutch hangs down to the knees! How difficult must it be to take a full step! Used to be girls in pencil skirts…
Our injuries can shape us.
Within the class we had a Highland dancer, ballet dancer, acrobat who was told to walk thinking they had lights in both heels and solar plexus (so feet turned out, pelvis over her toes and ribs thrust out in front of her)! Another person described walking like their grandmother who was paralysed down one side. All fascinating insights.
Musculo-skeletal habits form…which I guess covers all the ones that assist the body and those that detract and long term, cause discomfort.
Stay tuned for Part 2..........What Walking Well Looks Like
On a recent walk with Nic we went barefoot in the rain and had so much fun suspending being sensible for an hour or so!
Here is Heather's entry in our Sensa Mat (foot massage mat) competition. She's done a brilliant job of demonstrating an untucked pelvis position in a cafe chair. We practiced this in class last week but its really easy to come back into old habits. Remember for the sake of your back, your nervous system - and really all of your other systems too, untuck!