Move your feet well

Everybody has their own walk. My uncle claims that he could spot me on the football field just based on how I jogged out to the line of scrimmage. Since I am a huge advocate of a walking program as a start to a life in motion, I thought I’d take some time to explain a normal gait cycle. You don’t have to be a kinesiologist to know that there are two main phases; the stance phase and the swing phase. They occur simultaneously on opposite sides of the body. Let me point out that the single defining characteristic of a walk as opposed to a run is that the body is never airborne while walking. As soon as you are walking so fast that at some point, both feet are in the air, you are running.
The stance phase begins with initial contact of the foot. The normal mode is a striking of the heel to the ground along the outer rear corner of the heel. If you take a look at your shoes and see that it is worn more in this area then you can say that you have a normal initial contact pattern. If you find that your initial contact is in the mid-foot or the toes then you may have compensated for the abnormality with your posture in a higher portion of your body. If this is the case, it is not to say that you have or will ever have pain or chronic damage however you should be assessed by a professional to see if there is a need to correct the gait pattern.
The reason that the foot must make initial contact in this exact fashion is because of what follows. The human foot is made to absorb shock. Out of all God’s creatures, we spend the most time supported by two feet. (I know, birds do too but their bodies are also light enough to be suspended in air for lengths of time.) We have adapted to cushion our body weight with every step. Hitting the ground with our heel unlocks the bones in our mid-foot so that they can float around each other and not be subjected to the 3x body weight force that each step brings.
Our bodies have millions of years worth of adaptation invested in them. Let’s do our part by making full use of our gifts in an informed and invigorating manner. Walking can do amazing things for ones health. Make sure you keep the pace higher than a stroll and always watch your step.

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