How to Walk Properly with Dr. Todd Martin

Hi. In this section we are going to cover the 
basic walk. What I mean by the basic walk is just   a stroll, like we be strolling down the street. 
So not powerwalking, racewalking, anything like,   that just a basic stroll. And we're not going to 
cover a lot of the anatomy. First, I want to just   get some basics so you can get yourself moving. 
Alright, so the first thing I do when I take   patients out in the hall and try to have them walk 
is, first I watch them walk, and when I come back   I have them try to connect their body movement- 
upper body with their lower body movement.

What   that means is pay attention to the swing of the 
arms and how it relates to the swing of the legs   when we walk. The arm on the opposite side of the 
swing leg should be swinging forward. When my left   leg goes forward, my right arm should go forward. 
When my right leg goes forward, my left arm should   go forward. If you're walking and you have no arm 
swing, or your right leg and your right arm are   going together, that means you've got some problem 
that needs to be corrected. So, what I want you to   do and practice as an exercise is, try to focus on 
standing with two feet together, and then decide   what foot you want to start walking with. We're 
going to start with the left foot and see if you   can walk and naturally have the right arm swing 
with it. So, we're going the left foot first,   right arm first. After you've done that for 
about five times and you get it consistent,   what I want you to do is step with the right 
foot first.

When you go with the right foot,   the left arm should go with it. So just practice 
starting. Just take one step or maybe two steps   and see if you can get coordinated. Once you've 
taken a couple steps, then go ahead and walk a   longer distance and see if you can walk in 
a relaxed manner and have your arm swing. Now, a lot of people when they teach walking 
talk about swinging the arms, and they talk about   active swinging of the arms. The arms should not 
swing on an active basis, meaning you shouldn't   be trying to swing your arms.

When you walk, the 
arms should swing naturally on their own. Why is   that? The arms swing because of the rotation 
of the core. That's what happens when we walk   normally. Our core is rotating, and that rotation 
is passively swinging the arms. Now, when I walk,   you can't always see that rotation. If I'm walking 
forward, it seems like my body is just flat,   but that's not the case. So, what's going on 
and why can't we see what's happening with the   core.

What's going on is I've got two sections 
to my abdominal core. I've got upper. The upper   abdominal core is going to be turning my upper 
torso, or my chest, my thoracic spine. And then   I've got my lower abdominal core, and that's going 
to be rotating my pelvis and my lumbar spine.   They move independently from one another, but they 
move at the same time as one another. When I walk,   what happens is the right side, if I'm going 
to step forward with my left foot, the right   side of my upper torso turns counterclockwise, 
while at the same time the right side of my   lower torso turns clockwise. That's as I step 
forward with my left foot. So what happens is   visually those two rotations are called torsional 
rotation. Those two rotations acting against each   other cancel out the net effect of what 
we see.

So, I have a rotation this way,   and I have a rotation that way. And what it looks 
like is that I've just taken a step forward,   but what you see is my arm forward because my arm 
is attached to the upper torso, and my upper torso   is turning that way. It's my lower torso and my 
pelvis that are turning that way, and their net   result is a forward motion of the arms when I step 
forward with my left foot.

The opposite occurs   when I step with my right foot. My upper torso, 
guided by my upper rotational abdominal muscles,   are turning my upper body this way, and at the 
same time my lower abdominal muscles are turning   my lower lumbar spine and my pelvis this way. And 
so the result is I step forward with my right leg   and the left arm goes forward with it. So as 
you're practicing your walk, make sure you're   walking with your arm and leg swinging on opposite 
sides at the same time. Make sure your arms are   swinging relaxed. You shouldn't have to make them 
swing like this. As your core moves naturally,   your arms will swing naturally. In this lesson 
we're going to move down a little bit and discuss   the feet. The feet are critical in walking 
because they are what come in contact with   the ground. Every time we take a step, the impact 
of our weight on the heel can either be gentle and   functional, or it can be hard and damaging.

that damage that occurs when we have a hard impact   on the heel that ends up reverberating stress up 
to the knees, to the hips, and the back, and can   cause injury over time, even if we don't realize 
it's happening. So let's talk a little bit about   what the feet do. When we're walking, let me turn 
sideways so you can see. When I'm taking a step,   the first thing we need to know is how the feet 
are lined up. Now, what I don't want to do is   have my feet wide apart when I'm walking. I want 
my feet basically in a not quite shoulder-width   stance but just like if my feet were together and 
moving straight forward in that with that distance   from each other. The other thing is how the heel 
lands, and when we walk forward it is going to be   exactly that, a placement on the heel of the foot. 
That's different, let's say, if I was walking   backwards.

If I walk backwards, I'd be placing on 
the ball of the foot. But most of us are walking   forward most of the time, so that's what we're 
going to focus on. We place on the heel and then   we roll on to the flat of the foot as we take the 
step. Now it's very important of how we're moving   the core when we do this, because what we don't 
want to do is fall onto our heel. That's not how   walking works. We want to glide. So, I want to 
place my heel with almost no impact. And then,   as I rotate the body, and that's where the arm 
swing comes in, the rotation of the body rolls   me forwards onto the front of the foot. There is 
no landing. There's no momentum causing me to fall   forward. That's not how we want to move. We want 
to move with rotation. So, I can land gently on   the foot, rotate the body, and roll through on 
the next part of the step which is what we call   the swing through. My ankle is going to dorsiflex, 
meaning it is going to pull up.

As my ankle pulls   up, it allows my lower leg to move forward in 
front of my foot. That is essential for keeping   forward movement. If my ankle were to push down 
I, would not be able to get my body forward. So,   it's the pulling up of the ankle that allows 
my weight to move forward. That's going to   coordinate with my upper body, with the arm swing, 
and allow me to move forward, where I'm then going   to place the next heel and then change my body 
rotation and continue to glide forward. So,   a couple important principles about walking and 
how it works with the feet.

Number one, we want   the feet just in line like this, not wide apart. 
Another important thing about the feet is we want   them facing straight forwards. There are way too 
many people these days walking around with their   feet turned out in the duck walk. This is very 
harmful because it's not how the feet are designed   to roll forward. They're not meant to roll this 
way. If you roll your feet in this way when you   walk, what you're doing is stressing the inside of 
your knees. You're going to collapse your arches   and it's also going to affect your lower back. 
So you need your feet facing straight forward,   just this distance apart, and then placing 
gently on the heel with no impact. Remember,   I am NOT forcing myself forward. I am placing and 
then gliding. That's a rolling action on the foot   and then as my ankle pulls up it allows me to 
continue moving forwards. So that's a little   bit about the details of the feet.

working on the Walking Course and you're going   to see a lot more detail on how we coordinate 
our upper body, lower body, and our hips,   so that our whole body can move more functionally. 
Can keep a healthy long life. Thank you..

As found on YouTube