Better to walk a lot or walk well?
It is so popular to be nagged by your “steps tracking” device to humiliate you into believing you aren’t doing enough if you don’t reach the 10,000 step threshold per day.
While it is good to observe that you are active, it is even better to look at the quality of your walking and gait. The bottom line is, if your posture is bad, working on the number of steps rather than correcting posture while doing so, can actually lead to some unhealthy situations.
Some classic cause and effect items are:
Head forward can lead to neck pain, knee pain, headaches. If you don’t hold your head up, the path of nerves coming from your head and down your back is strained. That would explain headaches and neck pain. Knees are affected because, as you walk, if your head hangs forward, you are putting up to 40 pounds of pressure to your knees with each step depending on your gait. That is a physics problem. By straightening up, you reduce the pressure.
Slouched ribcage makes it more difficult to breathe, changes the gravity over your hips and weakens the front of your torso. Raising the ribcage is actually number one on my 4 rules of posture. Lifting it does most of what is needed to improve one’s posture.
Forward shoulders, especially if you are carrying things, can lead to shoulder injury and makes it harder to keep your head up. If you keep your shoulders back, you can hold things for a longer distance.
Slacked stomach leads to lower back pain, weakness in lifting and encourages abdominal muscles to develop out rather than holding tight and powerful.
These are some quick examples. There are so many more!!
To improve your gait, start with putting the fitbit away for a short time and walk less, but better. Don’t even think about going for a walk without following my 4 rules of posture:
1/ Ribcage up
2/ Shoulders back
3/ Stomach in
4/ Head is lifted
When you are tired of walking that perfect, sit down and rest. Then get up, use the rules and go again. Work at it mindfully every day!! Please visit my previous blog with other posture tips!