This is an example of how walking will sometimes force the body to alter its posture to accommodate what we need to do to accomplish the task at hand. Another myth of walking that normally causes issues is the "POWER WALK" that so many individuals attempt to do to help burn more calories. Without getting into the calorie discussion I will address the notion of "POWER walking". As with any form of exercise the individual needs to build up to a certain performance level- watching a tape or infomercial does not qualify or quantify the build up. If you attempt to force the body to perform at a high level it will but often compromise itself in the process...
What happens here is the foot mechanics become short circuited and will force the body to alter its mechanics enough to please the thought but create a stress point. It is these stress points that will ultimately cause pain and even long term issues that will force the individual to stop what they are doing. So whether you are lifting weights, performing a movement exercise, doing cardio, or just plain walking the individual has to develop the proper strength to do it.
When talking of the proper foot mechanics I have discussed over the last few weeks how the foot relates to the spine and movement, how the foot will affect a person's posture both good and bad. So what does the foot need to do when walking? As we stride forward our foot needs to heel strike and roll to the ball of the foot so all 26 bones are able to articulate or move. It is this movement of the bones that triggers the necessary sensory and motor nerves and sends to the proper messages to the brain. Looking back at last weeks blog I talked about the relationship with the spine. It is this relationship that notify's the different areas of the spine if there is an inordinate force that might be affecting the spine. When this message is ascertained by the brain the proper accommodation or compensation factors are determined.
It is important to re-focus our thoughts here for a moment. I have mentioned in previous blogs that for the body to override the effects of gravity on the body we need to expand and contract in a vertical position. It is no different at conception when the cells start their splitting process. In a bellow type movement the expansion and contraction generates the split. In movement our spine needs to use all of the joints and articulations to move in a sequential pattern so that as we breath our rib cage will also be able to fully move and allow the body to take in the maximum amount of oxygen. As we strengthen our body we need to also strengthen our breathing patterns as they work in harmony. More often than not most individuals hold their breath when they start to create more exertion in the body. What this does is minimize the amount of movement in the spine and therefore limits the amount of overall body participation, and will limit the amount of recruitment of other muscle fibers.
How does all of this work? I will try to explain without going over the edge with it because it is not a simple explanation. The body has many reflex points that act as our GPS and truly points us in the right direction. Movement as we know needs to be what is called motile or spontaneous. For this to happen the body has many sensory organs located throughout the body that signal the brain to its surroundings. These are know as reflex points and is what I referred to in both last and this weeks blog post. Reflex points are what reflexology is based on and through early eastern medicine where traced to not only the foot but the hands and ears. These reflex points are also the communicators between different areas of the body and are controlled by the subconscious part of our nervous system. When we minimize the amount of these reflex points we also minimize the amount of resources our brain has to function fully.
With this information the individual will better understand why we will tell them to move slow and stay within the boundaries your body has set. As you continue to progress through the process, these boundaries will expand and that is what creates strengthening. As we walk the reflex points on the bottom of your foot will notify the brain as to how it needs to proceed. If we inhibit these movements the brain will inhibit its responses. As these responses are inhibited so is the progress our body will make, and more often than not injury will be the result.
In conclusion for this week it is important that we condition not only the muscles of the body but its ability to respond to the reflex messages that are given. In walking the brain receives its original messages from the feet and engages the proper muscles accordingly. As we start to incorporate more and more musculature the reflex points indicate the need for more blood and oxygen to the area that needs it. This will help us in recruiting the proper muscle fibers and in time aide us in developing the strength and yes "speed" we desire.
I will continue this discussion next week, until then always remember there is a Reason to HOPE!