Fundamental Movements- Gait

Today we will be talking about the last fundamental movement, gait! Gait is best described as (basically) the technique of walking. While this movement seems obvious, it does involve multiple muscle groups. The quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, the hip adductors are the muscles primarily used, and the gluteal and the abdominal muscles also play a significant role in this motion. It is also the fundamental stepping stone to more vigorous activities like running and jumping.

Proper gait is important not only to optimize forward motions, but to also prevent injury. Improper gait can cause problems that might not seem so obvious, such as back and hip problems, even if you aren’t a runner, and puts unnecessary strain on your body as a whole. It can also cause instability while walking (therefore running, or any other exercise that requires forward motion with your legs), which is the leading cause of falls as you age. Even if you don’t plan on running, maintaining a proper gait as you age is important to reduce your risk of injury, ensure maximum mobility, and increase range of motion. 

If your gait is off, there are a few simple steps you can take to correct it. Working on your balance can help, as it supports stabilizing muscles that support you as you walk. Standing on one leg for a few seconds and then alternating is a good way to start working on your balance (and helps strengthen the muscles around your ankles, making ankle injury less likely). If you are unable to maintain your balance for more than a few seconds at a time, you can start by simply stepping over things multiple times in a row, and working your way up! 

Today when you take an evening stroll, focus on how your body is moving. Your walking pattern should feel steady and even. If you feel like you might need some help correcting your gait, stop by Fit St. Charles- we would be more than happy to help you find some easy exercises that can help it improve!