Listen, I know that this is probably discriminatory and all of that, but this blog post is not aimed at people that don’t generally walk with their legs. I know some fine people that use wheels to get around and others who use various combinations of sticks and frames and they (and you) are all wonderful people, but this is not your time to listen. Also not included as the potential audience for this post are things like rocks and plants that don’t get around in the same way that humans do. I mean, sure, rocks get around by getting kicked and plants get mobile by getting themselves put into pots and hanging baskets, but still – this post is not for you.
Happily though, pretty much everything and everyone else is included. Frogs get around in much the same way that humans do, and rockets and cars do pretty much the same.
So, now we’ve laid some ground rules – on with the show.
The first and only rule for How To Walk is to introduce some variety into it. By this I mean that sometimes you need to skip and other times you need to swagger. Sometimes you should consider walking backwards and at other times you can perhaps think on the benefits of walking like crabs do – sideways. Wait now – don’t go. This is not madness. This is absolute common sense. Think about it: stuff wears out, right? After you’ve walked across a grassy field a few dozen times, you’ll notice that you’ve laid down a track. The grass you walk on will get beat down the more often you walk on it. Then it’ll get more sparse. Then it’ll die. This is the wearing process. The same thing happens to joints, muscles, tendons and other stuff in your legs when you do the same things to them day after day. They get worn in certain patterns.
So what, I hear you ask, is the alternative?
Let’s go back to our field of grass. Think about what happens when, every time you go across it, you choose a different route. Here’s what happens – you don’t wear a track. This is because the grass at any particular point has a chance to recover from being trod on. By spreading your footfalls around the grass you bring benefit to the whole field and – bonus – you still get from one side to the other. It’s a true win-win situation.
Similarly, when you vary the way that you walk you give the various components of your legs a rest. You’ll have noticed, perhaps, that walking up hills uses different muscles to walking down them. Your legs ache in different ways according to what you’ve done. In the same way, walking backwards, sideways or forwards use different combinations of tendons, joints and muscles. The more variety you can bring into your gait the more benefit you will bring to yourself and your legs. Make variety in the way you walk a lifetime habit and, chances are, the longer your legs will last.
That’s all for now; I hope you enjoyed what I’ve shared and are able to tune in to future episodes of ‘How To’, but for now – happy walking!