Gait refers to the way in which an individual walks. When you speak with a health care professional, such as a podiatrist or physical therapist, he or she may use this term. In any case, a person’s gait deals more with the specific mechanics involved in walking. Your gait involves a complex system of movements requiring the participation of many parts of your body. Many individuals never give gait a second thought after they first learn how to walk as toddlers. Because many are preoccupied with how walking can get them from point A to point B, few people concentrate on whether or not they are walking correctly. As such, many adults may experience physical pain when they walk. You can alleviate this pain by addressing your gait, which requires that you examine your posture and walking technique, as well as your walking gear. Below are six ways in which you can improve your gait.
Be Mindful of Your Gait
The first step in improving your gait is to pay attention to how you walk and how it feels to walk. Though walking may feel like second nature, and it may feel odd to concentrate on its details, remember that walking does not just involve your feet but your entire body. Take a walk and pay attention to all the body parts involved in walking. Be mindful of how each part of your body feels while you are walking. Also make sure to notice how you breathe when you walk, as breathing is an important part of having an effective gait.
Correct Your Posture
Posture is perhaps one of the most important factors in improving your gait. Your posture is how you carry your body and the positions in which you maintain specific body parts. Many individuals may be familiar with having good posture while sitting and standing. However, many of those same rules of posture also apply to walking. When you walk, you should tighten your abdominal muscle. To do this, imagine pulling your navel toward your spine. You should avoid walking while sticking out your stomach. Make sure that your toes point forward when you walk. Many individuals point their toes outward, and this can increase strain on their knees. Relax your shoulders when you walk, and keep your head upright. Some of these postures may be new to you, and it may be easy to revert to old postures. However, keep being mindful of your body, correcting any bad postures when you sense them, and you will be able to feel your gait improve over time.
Perfect Your Technique
At its core, walking involves a smooth motion of your foot touching the ground from the heel to the ball of your foot. This is the most effective way to walk and can help prevent and alleviate discomfort associated with walking. You should also be sure to effectively utilize your thigh muscles and glutes and feel them working while you are walking. This helps remove all the pressure away from your feet and more evenly disperses it throughout the lower half of your body. Additionally, be sure to utilize your arms by gently swinging them in rhythm with your walking. This also helps to stabilize you while you walk.
Get the Right Shoes
Most people do the majority of their walking while wearing some kind of footwear. There is a vast array of styles and designs available that meet almost every individual’s needs and preference. Not all of these shoes are suitable for improving your gait, however. You should always make sure that your shoes fit you properly. If you are unsure of your true size, take the time to measure the length and width of your feet. Many individuals forget to take a shoe’s width into consideration. When shopping for shoes, ask the salesperson if a particular style is available in a suitable width for your shoes. If it is not available, avoid trying to squeeze your feet into a shoe that is too narrow. As for the shoes, themselves, try to choose models that have firm heals and flexible soles. Make sure that the soles have adequate support and cushioning and are not flimsy or excessively thin. Keep in mind that your feet will swell as you walk. If a shoe feels snug when you try it on at the store, it will be uncomfortably tight when you walk in them.
Don’t Forget Your Insoles
Finding a perfect shoe that strikes the correct balance between style and function can sometimes be difficult. Additionally, you may find it challenging to come across a shoe that has all the functional attributes to help you improve your gait and maintain good walking habits. The perfect shoe can also be quite expensive. Insoles, on the other hand, offer an ideal and affordable solution. Insoles are flat inserts made to offer extra support and comfort. The advantage of insoles is that they are easily inserted and removed, and (specifically with ComfyWalk insoles) they can be used with any pair of shoes. You may not even need to purchase new shoes but simply add the correct insoles to help you start improving your gait. ComfyWalk insoles are available in two simple and effective styles, and both are perfectly formulated to help you improve your alignment. Even if you do find the perfect shoes, ComfyWalk insoles can enhance the comfort and support they provide you in order to elevate your gait further.
You can also improve your gait by performing specific exercises that target gait issues and techniques. This more intensive approach to improving your gait can help you see positive changes in your walking much more quickly. Additionally, you can seek out the services of a physical therapist who can provide you with personalized attention and correct your gait so you can start walking more comfortably.