Learn to correct a Twisted Gait, one of the 6 Common Walking Problems that limit the benefits you get from exercise walking. Avoid creating repetitive stress injuries that rob you of time, money and fun. Transform walking problems into walking solutions.
3. Twisted Gait to Balanced Gait
The Problem: Most of us have a stronger leg that pushes off harder when we walk. Often we also have a dominant arm. Observe in the photo how the model’s arm crosses her midline and twists her torso to her left. An uneven push-off or arm stroke – 6,000 – 8,000 steps a day – can cause an unbalanced torque in your spine. A Twisted Gait can also result from one foot turning out at an angle while the other tracks forward. Imagine trying to restrain a dog pulling sidewards on the leash while you try to walk straight ahead. A Twisted Gait can create strain and pain in your spine, hips, knees and feet. Practice changing these inefficient patterns before they lead to repetitive stress injuries.
Warning Signs: Tell tale signs of a Twisted Gait include: uneven sound of your footsteps, uneven shoe wear, socks or pants that get twisted as you walk, an arm that swings more easily forward or back, or an overly dominant push-off from one leg.
Somatic Benefits: The psychological feelings from a Balanced Gait can include feeling more centered, focused and able to ‘hit the mark.’ Life feels easier because efficient walking not only balances the muscular skeletal system but relaxes the mind as well.
The Solution: Build a Balanced Gait by first discovering whether one foot tracks out an an angle. Next observe if one foot pushes off harder. Then walk with one hand at your chest while you notice the arm swing of the other arm; then switch. Your goal is to match the power and tracking of your legs and arms on both sides of your body.
Exercises: If one arm or leg dominates then balance your stride or stroke by decreasing the effort of the stronger limb. This gives the limb on the other body side time to build strength. If only one foot turns out at an angle then very gradually bring your feet more parallel – about 1/4 ” turn a month. Your knees ideally track forward also. Practice any of these changes for one-minute intervals repeated 3-6 times during each walk. Go slowly respecting that you are sculpting in flesh and bone. Back off if you have pain and ice as needed when you get home. A Balanced Gait will be efficient, look graceful and feel easy.