LEARNING TO WALK PROPERLY
A graceful walk is actually good posture in motion; the traditional training method is to practice with a book on your head. Now, balancing a book (or anything else) on top of your head forces your body into proper alignment – and that is the foundation of both good posture and an attractive walk! Here’s how your body should shape up when alignment is correct: rib cage vertical, not tilted forward or backward… pelvis straight (if you had a tail, it would hang straight down, not tucked under between your legs!)… knees and feet pointing straight ahead. A plumb line would fall just in front of ankle bone, just behind kneecap, through center of hip joint and middle of waist, shoulder, ear lobe. (If you’d like to check yourself out, you can hang a tape measure down a full-length mirror and see.)
When you walk, your footprints should look like this: Feet are turned out just the tiniest bit and placed in almost a straight line – only an inch or two apart. The length of your stride is determined by how tall you are and how long your legs are. (Average stride is about one foot for women.) If you are long-legged and take small strides, your walk may be of the mincing variety… like a goose, it looks silly! Conversely, if you’re petite and have a long stride, you may look like a drill sergeant pompously marching along, and you need to shorten your stride a bit. In doubt about your footprint pattern? Try walking barefoot in wet sand. How your body’s weight is distributed when you stand or walk is vital.
The Mensendieck method of body mechanics advocates training muscles to automatically maintain the “balanced standing position:” Weight is not on heels, but on the “inner margin ball” of the foot, just behind the big toe. Place your feet in a parallel position, tighten buttocks and inner thigh muscles, lower the shoulder blades and stretch the spine, pulling your head back and up (never let your head poke forward like a turtle). There! That’s the balanced standing position, and, once in it, your figure will look its very best! Now, relax a bit (but keep your weight on the inner margin ball of your feet), and start walking slowly. Swing legs from the hip socket (without twitching derriere at every step!) and keep your body aligned: shoulders level, head up and back, shoulder blades lowered, rib cage vertical. With each step, your heel hits the ground first… then weight instantly rolls forward along the outside edge of foot onto the big toe – with which you push off for the next step. This shift of weight is done smoothly, with a continuous, fluid motion.
Now that you know what to do, here are some don’ts: Don’t toe in or toe out… shift hips from side to side… take giant strides or tiny baby steps… lead with your head… swing your shoulders… bob up and down.
That’s all there is to it! Happy walking… You never looked better!
Article kindly published from Karen Ann Taylor’s Transgender and Information Library