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By Ann Harman
Here is an exploration of walking that is an enjoyable way to turn your walking into an easy, efficient, full body activity. Do this somewhere where you won’t be self-conscious, or take a child to share the fun! Let yourself giggle and have some childish delight as you do this. Although we will be exaggerating our movements, make sure that everything feels good and that you don’t exaggerate any movement to the point of discomfort.
Walk slowly enough so that you can notice how you walk. Does your pelvis move? If so, does it mostly rotate, tuck under, or do something else? Do your shoulders swing? Does your spine move?
Now exaggerate the swing of your pelvis. How does it feel to walk that way? Does your spine participate more? Let go of the exaggerated pelvic swing. Now tuck your pelvis under so that your tailbone moves forward as you reach forward with one foot, and then bring your tailbone back and arch your spine as the foot comes back. Now tuck your pelvis under as the other foot comes forward, and bring your tailbone back to that foot. Which side is easier?
Relax. Now as you walk, lift one hip and then the other.
Relax. Now walk normally and see if your walk has changed.
If you are in a place where you can safely do so, walk backwards. How does this differ from your forward walk? Now repeat the same variations in a backwards walk. Walk forward again. Has your walk changed? Does your pelvis move differently? How about your arms? Does your spine move with the walk?
For even more fun, make up your own variations. Reach high with one or both arms, tilt your head to one side, or exaggerate your arm swing. If you have a child with you, let the child make up the variations! Finish with observing your walk again, including pelvic movement, arm swing, and spinal movement.