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Reasons To Improve Your Walk

1. You’ll get from place to place faster, obviously

2. People will fearfully get out of the way of your implacable stride

3. Deterrence of street children, flyer handouts, religious freaks, network marketers and other assorted street crazies

4. Conserves energy

5. A powerful gait will most likely be internalized as part of a powerful personality

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From an oft-cited study about one of the ways criminals select their victims (the way they walk):

“The prime difference between perceived victim and non-victim groups seems to revolve around a “wholeness” or consistency of movement. Non-victims have an organized quality about their body movements, and they function comfortably within their own bodies. In contrast, the gestural movement of victims seems to communicate inconsistency and dissonance. Instead of body parts working to complement each other, the potential victim’s body parts seem to move against each other, as in the non-fluidity of body movement or the lifting rather than graceful swinging of the feet.

Further support for this idea comes from the respondents themselves, who indicated during these conversations that “any dude who looked different” would probably be a target of assault.

A non-verbal dialogue seems to exist between criminal and victim through which the victim communicates his or her vulnerability to the criminal.”

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“Movement is an extension as well as a reflection of emotions and thoughts, and not merely something which occurs sporadically as a result of external stimuli.” – Rudolf Laban

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Some pointers:

SPINE ALIGNMENT: You should be creating a vertical line with your body that runs through your ear, shoulder and hip. Any misalignment will cause your balance to be off.

Your head is very heavy. Center it to help the spine hold it up.

Statistically speaking, you probably have forward head posture, or are beginning to have it. Hold the top of your head high, and push your chin back a little bit. As you’re pulling your head up, your shoulders should be pulling down, lengthening your neck.

forward_head_posture_bellevuechiropractor

The curve of your spine should be as low down as possible (at the “small” of your back), NOT in the middle of your spine. Curving this part inwards slightly will activate the muscles at the base of your spine to give you strength, and open up your abdomen for breathing.

The key to maintaining this posture is to adjust until it becomes natural to you. It will do you no good if you snap into this posture from time to time for a few minutes then gradually slip back into chickenheaded-ness or humpbacked-ness. Adjust it until it becomes comfortable, then practice until it becomes your default.

BREATHING: Breathe deeply by filling your lower abdomen first, then your chest, to their full capacity. Your abdomen should inflate on the inhale, and deflate on the exhale. Your  shoulders should not move. Shoulders moving upwards means that you are breathing shallowly, which is a type of breathing that should only be used during times of overexertion (running, sex, etc). This lady is doing it (at 1:21, conveniently after the lesbian kissing).

I’ve noticed this type of breathing becoming the norm, which would explain why yoga seems like something mystical to many people, because it forces you to breathe deeply, which is actually the normal way. You can observe it most clearly in a sleeping infant, how only the abdomen moves and the chest is mostly motionless.*

I have an unsubstantiated theory that this is because most people hold some sort of unaddressed emotional pain inside themselves, and the shallow breathing helps them not to feel it. Fast and shallow breathing is easily observable in people and animals suffering from physical pain; I think that the chronic shallow breathing is a more subtle form of this coping mechanism.

Another barrier to deep breathing is tight clothes. (Bras and belts, mostly.) This is easy to detect. When you put your clothes on, can you expand your abdomen and chest to their full capacity without straining against your clothes? If not, wear something else. If you don’t have anything else, buy something else. If you don’t have money, get some bra strap extenders or poke holes in your belt or tie up your pants with a shoelace. Maybe not that last one though, if you’re over 13.

THERAPY: Now you’re standing and breathing like a champ. If you’re anything like me, or Andrea Gibson, you probably cried and / or had panic attacks while learning how to breathe. Maybe go to therapy if it doesn’t stop.

EXERCISE: Observe athletes walking. Harmonious motion comes from integration of the muscles, the conscious mind, the unconscious mind and the senses. Athletes are trained to react quickly to physical stimuli and hold their bodies accordingly: alert, upright, strong. You don’t need to become an athlete or a gym rat to have a strong body, but you do need to move around a lot. Clean the house or something.

LENGTHENING YOUR STRIDE: Your natural step probably carries you around 2 feet forward, and you probably move at a speed of around 5kph. You can move much more quickly than this by lengthening your stride. You’ll have to wear shoes with sturdy, comfortable soles for this, because you’ll be landing harder on the ball of your foot than usual and pushing harder off the ground with your toes than usual. Wear sports shoes, or comfortable wedges if you need to look pretty, or purchase cushion inserts for flats. Practice a little slowly at first, widening your stride until you feel the pull in your upper leg muscles. Pivot your hips slightly to bring your leg further forward with each stride. Keep your arms close to your body as you swing them naturally for balance. You have to practice this, as this type of walking isn’t intuitive to most people; people in a hurry tend to either speed-walk in weird tiny steps, or break into a jog, neither of which are efficient movements. Most people cannot speed-walk or jog for more than short intervals; however, most people can walk with a long stride pretty much indefinitely.

THE ACTUAL WALKING: Now you’re a sculpted, therapy-fied Adonis, perfection personified. Time to hit the streets.

*before the world destroys her innocence

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