Playing with Walking Mindfully1 Comment October 4, 2011 / Posted in Injury Prevention, Mindful Running, Mindful Walking, Mindfulness, Running Form & Style
If you watch the way most people walk you will notice that the lower leg snaps forward and the person (and probably you) land on the back of the heel of the shoe first. If you look at the heels of your regular shoes, you will most likely notice that the outer edge of the heel of the shoe is where it wears down the most.
Actually the wear is because the heel hits on that outside edge coming back. If you think marching goose-step you see the heel digging in and not wearing because there is a scrape forward.
Rather than thinking of your lower leg as a pendulum, imagine that you are on an elliptical trainer. As you walk, as soon as your foot touches the ground lift the heel up half an inch and place the foot right back down. This way you land on the front of the heel of the shoe.
If you do this barefoot you will find that you land almost ball/heel and that your walking is smother. By playing with this you are rolling over the ground with that little bit of lifting the heel that half inch as soon as the foot touches the ground.
That image of the elliptical and placing the foot right down allows you to stop overstriding. You overstride if you are hitting on the back of the heel of the shoe. That overstride means that every step you take, you are stopping yourself and jarring your body.
How can I tell if someone is overstriding? As someone walks toward you an overstride is when you can see the bottom of their shoe/foot all the way to the heel. This means their weight is on the back leg and the leg in front is overstriding. Simply, each step is a slight stop. If I CANNOT see the heel of your shoe as you come towards me, then your weight is over the front foot and you are walking gracefully over the ground. Actually you are landing on the surface of the earth and not pounding through it with each step.
Like in running, you can walk gracefully or clumsily (read mindless). Go for the grace.
This is one way for runners to practice their running form while walking. In the Pose Method, the body is gracefully falling forward from the ankle. The heel is pulled up by the hamstring a half inch. The foot comes down under one’s center of gravity as that center continues to move horizontally forward.