We had such a great Community Walk on Tuesday - I felt like a kid whose friends had all dropped in to play Leggo, or Barbies, or whatever your favourite chlidhood game was! Taking your healthy movement out on the road can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, so read on for some brilliant tips from Laura McKinnon
Bolstering On The Move
You've taken Mel's classes, you've bought into the 'blah blah' ;) which isn't hard since it works! - and you're feeling the transformation and restoration of your body…now you want to take all you're learning 'on the road'! So how do all these alignment points work once you're on the move - say on your daily walk?
Do you take everything you've learnt and apply it to your walking body? The short answer is Yes! and No! or more accurately a little bit, and here and there :)
The long answer…
Just as in class, where you meet your tissues where they are and work on change, this is where you start with walking.
If you dive straight into 'perfect' head ramp, ribs down, neutral knees, feet straight, etc, the load to your tissues in these new positions of alignment, while biomechanically correct, would be too great to their current condition and could cause pain, and even injury.
So, just as Mel teaches in class, be gentle on your body and allow slow and safe transition, both for your mind (it can get pretty hectic trying to remember and stay aware of what your head, chin, ribs, arms, pelvis, knees and feet are doing while walking - and still enjoy your walk!) and your tissues, to these new alignment points and ways of moving.
A great way to slowly transition the alignment points and movement principles to your walking is to use a type of 'bolstering on the move'. Some of the ways you can 'bolster' are the degree that you apply an alignment point and for how long. On your next walk pick an alignment point (or two if it's not too much to think about!) and then pick a tree or street corner to walk to, or number of steps/minutes you're going to focus on applying it. Also choose to what degree. For example how far down will you drop your ribs? How far forward will you rotate your elbow pits?
Here are some alignment points and movement principles to consider while out and about:
Feet hip width apart
Feet straight ahead
Neutral knees (very tricky while walking!)
Listing the pelvis to bring the straight 'stepping leg' through
Actively using the backside of the supporting leg to generate the force to propel you forward (gluteus, hamstring, calf, foot and toes)
Neutral elbow pits (facing forward)
Reciprocal arm swing actively pulling behind (and then reflexively swinging forward)
Head ramped (chin in!)
Eyes up and looking at varied distances and directions (as your terrain allows to safely)
Remember to only apply these alignment points and movement principles as it feels right for your body on that particular walk . It might change for you from walk to walk- even within a walk! Stay mindful of how your body is feeling and adjust as necessary.
A little reminder chant my mum, Annie, and I use in our heads like a marching band while walking is 'back, back, back'! This helps to keep us aware, making sure all our walking is happening behind us. The reciprocal arm swing is actively pulling back while the supporting leg pushes behind, all the way from the extended hip flexor and active gluteus muscle, all the way down through the foot and toes, to propel you forward.
May the alignment points be with you (a little bit at a time) out on your walks!
What a fantastic post, thank you so much Laura! Also huge thanks go to Catherine who has done a makeover of my Summer Sessions flier. This, my friends, is why you call in the professionals.