“Postural exercises such as yoga, pilates and martial arts are about avoiding pain and injury as much as helping you feel good. Attractive men and women have good posture.” – Liz Miller
Being “attractive” may be nice, but avoiding pain and injury is paramount for living a healthy and pain-free life. And a great deal of achieving that goal is by attaining and maintaining a proper walking gait and posture.
Why Walking with Good Posture Matters
According to an article at Healthline,
“Most of us likely don’t give much thought to how we walk or whether we are walking correctly. But knowing how to walk with the right technique and good posture can help:
- keep your bones and joints aligned properly
- decrease wear and tear on your joints, muscles, and ligaments
- prevent back, hip, neck, and leg pain
- reduce muscles aches and fatigue
- reduce the risk of injuries
- improve your balance and stability
Walking with the right technique and posture isn’t difficult. But it does involve being mindful of how you move.”
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when discussing gait and posture: Are you walking for a sufficient period each day and are you conscious and mindful of how you are walking?
The most common issue with gait is that we do not think about it and we are often captives of whatever postural and walking gait habits we’ve formed over the years. And most of us pay the price for that.
As one article noted,
“Experts say that poor posture — long regarded as a mere aesthetic concern that made sufferers appear sloppy — is now known to be a major culprit in back problems that strike more than 80 percent of all Americans at some time in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health.”
On the other hand, achieving and maintaining a proper posture and gait has numerous physical benefits including:
- Walking properly can help you avoid putting unnecessary stress and strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints throughout your body, which contribute to pain-free muscles and joints.
- Walking with poor posture isn’t efficient as it can wear your muscles out faster, whereas walking with good form can conserve your energy.
- Your abdominal muscles benefit from walking tall and being properly engaged, and results in greater core strength.
- If you walk with your head held up, not bending forward, it can help reduce neck strain, which may lead to fewer tension headaches.
- When you walk properly with the correct posture, it can help improve your balance and make you less prone to falling.
Improving Posture and Gait
A standing posture for most healthy individuals has certain characteristics that include:
- Holding your chin parallel to the floor
- Keeping both shoulders even
- Keeping your arms at your sides with elbows straight
- Avoiding flexing or arching your spine
- Abdominal muscles being slightly taut
- Hips and knees held even and pointing straight ahead
- Your body weight should be evenly distributed evenly to both feet
Along with this standing posture, a healthy walking gait requires a steady heel-to-toe gait. This involves striking the ground with your heel first, then rolling through your heel to your toe, and pushing out of the step with your toe. Avoid flat-footed steps or striking the ground with your toes first.
Maintain your posture with practice and reinforce it with balance-focused a few simple exercises and workouts. This can help address posture and balance problems by building strength in key regions and loosening overly tight muscles.
In addition, it is important to be aware of your posture at all times and to continually work to increase and maintain your core strength and flexibility. In fact, once you begin this course of action, you can noticeably improve your posture in just a couple of weeks.
In addition to actively working to improve your posture and walking gait, however, you may already be suffering from muscle or joint pain and dysfunction. These can be a result of years of improper gait and unhealthy postural habits.
Fortunately, there is help available to determine the cause of this pain and to help bring complete relief and restoration of body health.
Pain and Performance Solutions – It’s What We Offer
At your first appointment, we will learn about your present pain as well as any history of discomfort. This is because treating and relieving your muscle pain starts when we understand where and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment technique and therapy will be best suited to get you on your road to recovery. This could be with a combination of Active Release Techniques® and Anatomy in Motion.
Because our bodies will compensate for pain to allow us to function during our day, the pain can shift around and lead to other forms of pain. And this happens due to poor posture and dysfunctional gait all the time.
Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. In the process, your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction in order to get your body healthy and working properly and to achieve total recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.