The Mobility Blog Part 2-How To Improve Your Balance and Stability When Walking

 

This 5 Day Exercise will allow you to regain and maintain a more stable upright walking gait. Keeping your spine more aligned, your posture more upright and your body more stable when walking. Do the exercise five times in a row slowly, five times a day, for five days. By the end of the fifth day you will be able to reset or autocorrect the position of your head and neck when walking helping you to increase your balance and stability and engage your core muscles as you walk.  

  • Do the exercise in the morning. At or around noon, midafternoon, before or after dinner and before going to sleep. If you skip a day or you don’t do the exercise 5 times in a row slowly, 5 times a day for five consecutive you need to start the 5 days over.
  • Sit in a chair. Make sure your spine is supported by either a pillow placed behind your back or you’re sitting in a chair that supports your spine with your head upright and centered over your shoulders.
  • Start the exercise with your head upright and your line of sight straight ahead.
  • Place a light book or notebook on top of your head so that it stays in place on top of your head without falling.
  • Feel how the back of your neck is aligned and positioned when the book is on your head. 
  • Slowly drop your chin towards your chest until the book or notebook falls in your lap.
  • Feel how straight the back of your neck is. Notice how your head is now positioned downward in front of the rest of your body and that the size of your visual field is now a fraction of what it was when your head was upright with your line of sight ahead of you towards the ground.

  When you walk looking down at the ground in front of your feet the length of your walking stride becomes too short and too unstable for your feet to contact the ground from heel to toe and engage your core muscles that maintain your body’s balance, stability and upright posture.  Looking down at the ground towards your feet not only stops your body from maintaining its natural alignment it causes your visual field to become so small that unless something is right in front of your toes you won't see it or have enough time to safely step over or around it increasing your risk of falling. Read Part 1 of the Mobility Blog to understand why it's important to walk with your head up and your line of sight towards the ground ahead of you the way you drive your car instead of towards your feet.

The only time you should look directly down towards the ground at your feet when walking is when you're on the stars, in the dark, on a wet or slippery surface, an uneven surface, sitting down, standing up or when stepping over or around something. You can glance down when walking without dropping your head down and see almost up to your toes. 

  When you walk with your head upright and centered over your shoulders.  With your line of sight towards the ground ahead of you and your feet contacting the ground from heel to toe and the arm on one side of the body and the leg on the other side of the body swinging forward and backward together it maintains the natural alignment of the spine and engages and strengthens the core muscles that maintain the body's upright posture, balance and stability. Your walking stride becomes bigger and more stable and your body has more balance. You look younger and feel younger because you're moving your body the way it was designed to be aligned and moved to maintain or regain upright posture, balance, and stability.

People who practice Tai Chi, martial arts, Qigong, yoga, and Ballroom Dancing maintain upright posture and their body’s alignment as they age. They move better, stay stronger and walk longer than other people their age. They fall less and have better long-term outcomes when they have an injury. It’s not their genes or a special diet that allows them to stay upright, walk longer and have better long-term outcomes after an injury. It’s how they move and the way they move all day every day that makes the difference. They’re easy to spot in a crowd because they keep their head upright and centered over their shoulders. Their feet contact the ground from heel to toe.  The only time they look down towards their feet when walking is when they're on the stairs, in the dark, on a wet or slippery surface or when making a transition from on surface height to another. 

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1 comment

  • Great Blog and exercise. Thank you. After doing the exercise for 5 days I was able to walk more upright and felt more stable. After 2 months of walking with my head up I feel stronger and I can walk longer without getting tired.

    Sisi

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