I have two legs and two arms so I must know how to walk and run properly?

Do I really know how to walk and run correctly or has years of sitting in an office, driving a car and slouching at every opportunity turned my body into an anatomical, mechanical lumbering fumbling movement machine?

Tom Michaud in his book titled Injury Free Running says

“We take it for granted but the process of running around on two legs is an extremely unusual way to get around. Of the more than 4000 species of mammals on earth today, only one is upright while walking. Even Plato commented on the curious nature of our preferred form of locomotion by referring to humans as the only featherless bipeds, there weren’t many Kangaroos in ancient Greece”.

So many walkers and runners get injured each year, the statistics suggest around 50% of regular runners suffer injury each calendar year. Experts believe this is down to poor mechanics and skills. I see this for myself on a regular basis, just go out and watch your local 5K races. In my last one I observed the following:

  • Runners bent over from the waist
  • Landing and propelling just using the toes
  • Striding out and bouncing
  • Heel striking with a forward placed leg
  • No arm movement
  • Too much hip rotation
  • Bent necks and torso

Each of these points is a mechanical issue that needs to be corrected.  Oh how often I hear walkers and runners talking about injury problems such as: Hip flexors, back ache, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis just to name a few. Offered up solutions are always around stretching exercises, strength training or just the most common one “buy new shoes”. Yes, these are important and shouldn’t be overlooked, but we must address the core issue, the actual walking or running method being used, the how we are doing it!

Moving around on two legs does present some engineering conundrums and this is why 99% of animals on the planet prefer to use all of their forelimbs while moving. But all of us, even the best walkers and runners amongst us, can focus on improving our mechanics to reduce or eliminate our injuries and improve our efficiency of movement. Sometimes all it requires is small changes to our technique for big improvements.

Here are a few important reasons why we need to ensure our walking and running mechanics work with our bodies and not against them.

  1. We Must Land on Our Feet Correctly. When our foot hits the ground, our entire leg needs to be supple and relaxed in order to absorb the shock that comes from the force of our foot hitting the ground. Think about this, in the course of a marathon there is a force of over 12 million pounds dissipated by the body! (Michaud, 2021)
  2. Body and Directional Alignment Are Critical. In running, there are always two forces acting on our body, the downward pull of gravity and the force of the oncoming road. We must work with this and not against it. (Dryer, 2019)
  3. Moving From Our Core. We must use the largest muscles in our body to help propel us forwards and not the smaller muscles in our legs. All parts of our body should work proportionately, we must use our larger muscles do the big work and the smaller muscles do the least work. (Dryer, 2019)

Think about how you walk and run, there are so many resources now to help you.

CHiWalking or CHIRunning visit www.CHIRunning.com. Or sign up here and get started today, move forwards with less effort, more efficiency and with fewer injuries.