NEVER did I think that I’d be focusing so much on my walking at the age of 24.
Last Feb. I somehow managed to mess up my foot/ankle for 6 MONTHS. I did therapy, iced, spent $630 to have a doctor tell me I had a “sprained ankle”, had a brace, got the nickname “Gimpy”, the whole thing. Soon enough, other parts of my body (hip, knee) started to really have problems from over compensating for my poor lil foot. Since then, it’s gotten a lil stronger from me doing some therapy moves with it and I haven’t had as bad of problems, but my balance on that side is awful and is still pretty weak.
I went out and bought a pair of very expensive shoes that are meant to support the arch of your foot and they’re great! BUT, it’s not fixing the actual problem, which is HOW I’m walking, not what I’m walking with. I’ve also been really self conscious about how little my calves are, I just don’t understand why they don’t grow with the rest of my muscles! Another thing that has to do with how I walk, I’ve always walked flat footed. I never have used my calves to walk, I just flop my feet down and completely just use my hips to walk.
Thanks to Kevin and Lindsay pointing it out, I’ve completely changed the way I walk. Believe it or not, there IS a right way and many wrong ways to walk. If you see in the first picture, my right foot is pronated (turns in) so much, and right where you see my arch hit the floor is where it’s been giving me so many problems (duh). In the second picture, you see my normal feet (and my tiny calves, what of it!?) after 2 weeks of focusing on walking on the outside of my foot without letting my foot pronate. It’s not like that all the time, noooo way. That’s me holding it there with all of my might. After these past couple weeks, instead of getting out of bed to a hurting foot, it’s sore. The muscles in my hips and in my foot are completely exhausted from trying to fix this problem. It’s going to take a lot longer than 2 weeks, I’ll tell you that much right now!
SO… with all of this nonsense about crappy feet, here’s how you should walk.
The first thing is to be barefoot as much as you can. I’ve always silently made fun of Kevin (the other trainer) for being just so angry at how much shoes support your feet. Because of shoes, our feet are not near as strong or supportive as they should be (think of the cavemen running around barefoot). Being barefoot helps you really focus on the correct way to walk.
1. Look in front of you when you walk, not down at your feet. It can cause you back problems and, let’s face it, doesn’t look the greatest! You’re an awesome person so hold your chest tall, chin high, and shoulders relaxed 🙂
2. Roll from your heel to your toe. Focus on quietly landing on your heel first, then leaving the ground off of your toe.
3. Push yourself off the ground to propel forward. For a little more “umph”, bend at the ball of your foot to push forward.
4. Lead with your knee, keep your abs tight, feet faced forward, and walk in a straight line without swaying back and forth.
5. Don’t lean back when you walk. Lean forward just a tad, about 5 degrees, and don’t bend at your waist. Try this while standing still first, then you can start walking with it.
6. I know classes always get tired of me saying this but, SQUEEZE YOUR GLUTES! Every time your heel hits the floor, that butt muscle should be squeezed.
7. Get into the habit of stretching your hips. They hold a ton of stress in them and should always be the first thing you think about with doing any movement (thanks again to Kevin for always stressing this!) I’ll share a couple of hip stretches you can do when you get stressed out, before bed, or when you wake up in the morning.
It takes practice to use correct walking form, trust me. Never be ashamed to work on your walking! You never know the parts of your body that suffer from walking incorrectly for so long… so figure it out 🙂 Practice!
Stay tuned for a couple amazing hip stretches