Walk Your Way Through This Pandemic
How you walk is a revealing predictor of health and fitness. Gait analysis can reliably foretell future falls, dementia, and even mortality. A stooped over, short stride walk makes you look old and tired. As a physical therapist, I encourage exercise that produces a stronger walk. Physical therapy patients frequently report profound gait limitations came on without warning. Fitness clients are often unable to walk for thirty minutes without stopping to rest. During the pandemic isolation, we can all take a daily restorative walk.
Dr. Shane O’Mara wrote an eloquent *essay on the value of walking as a necessary exercise activity. Walking is directly linked to brain development. Recent research has demonstrated that walking boosts creativity. Emotional well-being is improved with a consistent walking routine. Dr. O’Mara is a professor of experimental brain research and he explains it far better than I.
Gait enhancing exercise involves posture correction, balance, coordination, and moving under load. Most of the fitness clients I work with need help with their walk. Gait faults often persist after knee or hip replacement. Long standing spinal pain problems inhibit a normal gait pattern. Identifying the primary impairment causing the problem is critical. Some daily home work on resolving that impairment goes a long way to restoring a strong and efficient gait.
*Why Walking Matters-Now More Than Ever, Shane O’Mara, Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2020
Read the article here
Mike O’Hara PT, OCS, CSCS