“If you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk.” – Hippocrates
We know it’s been hot here in Texas, but as things start to become more bearable outside, it’s a good idea to start back into a walking routine.
Walking is one of the best exercises that our patients can do for themselves. However, it can be dangerous if you’re off balance or have developed dysfunctional gait mechanics. If you are avoiding normal activities such as walking due to being dizzy or off-balance, you can make an appointment with us and we’ll help you!
If you feel safe going for a walk, there are certain things to pay attention to. Start off walking on a track or in your favorite store like HEB, Costco, or Lowe’s. The trick is to be somewhere familiar with a reliably flat and smooth surface. As you get more comfortable with your gait, you can move on to neighborhoods and sidewalks. Always practice in your safety zone!
Start out by paying attention to your feet.
- When you walk, do you hear a scuffing sound? If so, make sure that as you take each step, you are landing on your heel and pushing off with your toes.
- Are you taking short, careful steps? Try taking nice long strides, when you place each foot it should land fully in front of (and offset from) the other.
- Are you slowing down so you’re in better control? Slowing down actually causes you to sacrifice natural body mechanics that maximizes efficiency during gait. Don’t speed walk, but walk at a nice brisk pace.
Take a minute to consider your arms.
- Are your arms staying still by your sides or clasped behind your back? Your body uses your arms as counterbalances to your legs to keep your Center of Gravity in control, so make sure that you’re swinging them naturally. Opposite arms and feet should swing forward at the same time.
- Are your shoulders hiking up towards your ears? Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders.
We know that this is a lot to consider on your own! Balance and dizziness can affect your comfort level and overall safety when walking, so pay attention to your ability levels and make sure you stay safe. We at 360 Balance & Dizziness are always happy to work with our patients on how to walk comfortably and safely! Come in and talk with a therapist today to ensure that the way you walk is healthy and safe!