Walking Properly is an Art

Our feet carry all of us throughout our lives. But, how often do we actually think about the process of walking? How do we appear to others as we walk? Our natural tendencies will probably vary everyday due to the types of shoes we are wearing that day, to the weather, to even the handbags we are toting on our shoulders. The feet are at the lowest point of circulation in our bodies and the abuse our feet endure can create chronic problems in our gait.

Just as models learn to “walk” their walk, the natural walk is really a learned art. Giving the rib age a slight tilt forward can take the walk from mundane to interestingly slinky. It takes practice to accomplish this so one should slow down at first and walk more mindfully.

Probably not as popular today, some models allegedly took drastic measures to keep their status as high fashion icons. These included removal of their lowest ribs so they could achieve more of a “clothes hanger” appearance. They would appear to disappear on the runway so the designer clothing would be showcased. It almost looked as if the clothes walked themselves. An optical illusion? Perhaps. The ribcage would be pitched slightly so that the hips could be disengaged from the model.

Now, I do not promote this ultimate enhancement, but I believe anyone that is so inclined, could easily practice this way of walking. The essential components involve concentration and repetition to make the steps become part of the brain’s muscle memory software.

As a Pilates instructor, and always seeking an ultimate “tool” to convey to my clients, I begin the reformer lesson with extensive footwork exercises. This tends to strengthens the lower extremities (the feet) and disengages the hips and knees. I like the focus it brings to the challenging modification.

However, the best practice is walking the walk constantly. Take every opportunity to practice wherever and whenever you can. It can be done walking your dog, at the mall, even at the supermarket. As you get better at it, increase your speed while doing it. You’ll see how challenging this can be as well as keeping your mind more alert.