This guide is written by Jonathan Fitzgordon founder of Core Walking.
Who taught you how to walk?
This is a question I ask at the beginning of most of my walking workshops.
The unfortunate answer is no one.
Somewhere around one year old, you stand up and take your first steps to cheers from your parents if they are lucky enough to bear witness.
After that, you are on your own to learn however you can.
And the way you do that is through imitation.
You copy the way one or both of your parents walk as you develop your own gait.
But who taught your parents how to walk? And what if one of your parents was recovering from a serious injury at the beginning of your life?
If they limped, your might start limping too. If they had problems with back pain it might explain why you are suffering now.
Walking like breathing, and sleeping, among others, are things we are not supposed to think about.
We stand, we walk, we breathe…
We are not designed to think about these essential functions. They just happen all day every day.
Which is truly amazing when you stop to think about it.
And for many people getting through life without having to pay attention to these things is easy.
No accidents to recover from. No injuries that stubbornly refuse to heal. No degenerative issues with your spine or joints that threaten to slow you down. No back pain.
Adding to that, there are people who are lucky.
For some reason, plenty of people can smoke two packs of cigarettes and a 5th of whiskey every day. And thrive.
I don’t know how or why but I have seen it for myself.
Unfortunately, you might not be so lucky.
You might be one of those people who are not finding an easy route out of pain.
Repeated visits to the doctor leave you without a remedy.
Multiple bouts of physical therapy fail to help and sometimes even make things worse.
Or maybe your back pain got bad enough that you went for x-rays and MRI’s. And they showed nothing!
If you are one of these people I have a simple solution for you. So simple you probably won’t believe it until you feel it.
There is a correct way to walk for back pain
There is a correct way to walk. In fact, there is a blueprint for everything the body does.
- When you walk the arms and legs are meant to move together at the same time and pace.
- Your movement should be initiated from the core.
- You should walk with your whole foot.
- The legs do most of the work.
- Movement is initiated from the knee to the foot instead of from the core.
- You likely walk through the outside of the foot.
Here is a video guide on walking.
For the last one, just pick up any pair of shoes you have had for a while and check the soles.
I can almost guarantee that the wear will show on the outer foot.
Like I wrote above, most people can get away with walking this way if they aren’t suffering from back pain.
But if you aren’t one of those lucky ones, one simple change to the way that you walk can bring relief from pain. And a host of other benefits.
We want to do almost everything by initiating our movement from the core of the body. You can think of the core as the area just behind the belly button.
When we do this it begins a chain reaction of good movement both above and below the core.
If you checked the soles of your shoes I can tell you how to assess your own movement patterns.
If your shoes wear out on the outside of the sole, you are moving less from your core and more from the legs.
So what is the one simple thing you can do to fix this?
What is the one thing that will change your walk for the better, forever?
The one thing that will help you move from your core and relieve that nagging back pain. Back pain that no one has been able to help you with.
Take shorter steps.
Shorten your stride when you walk.
Most people think that long strides will make you go faster. But it isn’t the truth.
Short strides, but more of them, are the key to walking correctly.
And shortening your stride— taking smaller steps— is the simplest and quickest way to find relief from chronic back pain.
Especially the type of pain that has hounded you for a long time and no one has been able to help.
Shorter steps will create a more efficient interplay of the arms, legs and core. And it will put less stress on your hips, pelvis, and lower back.
How short? It is pretty simple.
Walk around to feel how you walk.
I think you will feel that you walk more to the outside of the foot. But maybe not. Maybe you walk too much to the inside.
Either way, shorten your stride and feel the difference. You should feel like you are using your whole foot.
And that feeling determines how long your stride should be.
Using the whole foot when walking— by taking a slightly shorter step— is a simple and effective remedy to use forever.
Stick with it and it won’t be long before the benefits appear.