As we step, so we live. Do you want to walk beautifully and keep your joints, knees and spine healthy? The question is vitally important for health and well-being - walking style has a great influence on the condition of your spine, its health, your overall posture in daily life and much more...
Image Credit: tclw.das.ohio.gov
Walking is the most natural type of moving
A person cannot stay healthy for a long time without moving. Movement requires all the muscles of our body. Walking is the most common and natural movement. With proper walking, there is no static load on the spine, muscular work promotes normal blood circulation, digestion, metabolic processes and normal activity of all body systems.
Proper walking is healthy, light and beautiful. Light straight posture is combined with confidence of movement and strong connection with the ground. That’s a healthy person!
Heel-toe or toe-heel walking – which is correct?
Humans are in a small group of mammals, together with apes and bears, whose natural style of motion is heel-to-toe. A simple observation on the street will show how many people are used to walk in the wrong toe-heel way. And barely anyone would associates the pain in the lower back or in the neck with the way they walk. The whole point is that walking is a well-thought mechanism designed by nature, all movements of the parts of the body are interconnected and should work in synergy. And if you put your foot in an unnatural style, your inherent internal rhythm is violated and the whole body starts function can be interrupted.
A recent study of the Journal of Experimental Biology says that heel-to-toe walking is more natural and energy-efficient for humans. The experiment with 27 people revealed that people who walk or run from their toes need 80% more energy, and those who walk heel-to-toes spend less energy to the ground.
For the most energy-efficient walking the leg should be put on the heel, with toes forward, then rolled from the heel on the outside of the foot. With proper walking, your spine should be free and relaxed – you can feel how the muscles work from the thumb, the foot, then from the heel from behind in the leg along the entire back, along the neck up to the base of the head, supporting the body as an elastic string.
Correct walking is vitally important for holistic health
When you put the toe to the side, smooth rolling on the foot is simply impossible, the leg in this case is placed on the side of the heel and rolls right away, or rather, breaks to the thumb, bypassing the outer side of the foot and the last fingers, starting with the little finger. Because of this, muscles, ligaments and joints are not fully involved and their movement remains limited, and this occurs not only in the foot, but the violation also goes upper through the whole body that prevents from full and natural movement of muscles, which are not included in the work, that in its turn results in violation of blood flow, nutrient supply, and also oxygen supply. That’s a common but barely recognized reason of increased static load and tiredness. Muscles tend to accumulate fatigue – they become overstrained, clamped, lose their flexibility – and in the long run it eventually leads to violations in the locomotor apparatus and all kinds of pains.
It’s never too late to start properly walking. Our body is so unique that it can be restored again with the help of proper knowledge and dedicated efforts. And the correct heel-toe position of feet while walking is an essential part of the general picture.
Start paying attention to how you put your foot while walking and put it as described above (the video below will help you). At first, there may be a feeling of inconvenience and unnaturalness. Take your time, focus on the movement and try to do it slowly and gently, give yourself the opportunity to feel it, and your muscles and joints get used to and adapt.