The Biomechanics of Your Walking Gait

Gait Stance Phase Feet on Ground

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your feet move your body forward to where you want to go at the pace you want to take. They use the least amount of energy by moving in as straight a line as possible, and adjust their movement to avoid pain if you have a painful foot condition.  They act as shock absorbers for your body. And unless you are hopping, your feet alternate on the ground as you go forward with the lower one propelling the one in mid-air forward.

The alternating of your feet as you walk happens in two phases:

  • The ‘Stance phase’ is when the foot is on the ground. It comprises about 60% of the walking cycle. For part of the stance phase both feet will be on the ground for a period of time.
  • The ‘Swing phase’ occurs when one foot is on the ground and one in the air.

Even during the ‘Stance phase’ a single foot goes through five sub-stages:

  • Heel strike
  • Early flatfoot
  • Late flatfoot
  • Heel rise
  • Toe off.

The defining difference between walking and running is that during running there is a period of time when both feet are off the ground (the ‘Float’ phase).  Also, as running is associated with greater speeds, the forces that go through the foot when it lands can be substantially greater than during walking; it is often 4-5 times body-weight during running and even up to 6-7times body-weight during sprinting.

http://www.footeducation.com/biomechanics-of-walking-gait

Deep Travelling on Foot

Image

To walk in the world’s poorer countries is to enter the orbit of their inhabitants. An attachment to the earth—to the vital soil or rock underfoot—is still the lot of most of the world’s population.

Colin Thubron has walked most happily in small countries—Cyprus, Lebanon, Kyrgystan—where the regional changes are close and intimate. The footpaths and goat-tracks thread a network of sites—villages, fields, wells—whose genesis belongs to a time before tarmac. Sometimes they give you the pleasing sense of walking through the ancient character of the land.

Shorn of the steel straitjacket of aeroplane or car, this might be called “deep travelling” if only your feet were less transient on the track.

 

Quoting Colin Thubron  who is an award-winning travel writer and the president of the Royal Society of Literature

http://moreintelligentlife.com/content/ideas/simon-willis/best-way-travel-walking

 

Picture source:  https://www.google.com/search?q=walking+on+rural+path+in+ethiopia&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=OKX6UpTMHJOrqQH-nYG4BA&ved=0CFsQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566

The Grounded Tightrope Walk

“In the beginning you must subject yourself to the influence of nature. You must be able to walk firmly on the ground before you start walking on a tightrope”. (Henri Matisse)      http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/tightrope.html

 A Balance-Improving Exercise from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B’:

  1. “Place your right heel directly in front of your left toes, forming a straight line.  Next, step your left heel in front of your right toes.  Continue to place your back foot ahead of your front foot until you reach your destination.  This exercise challenges your balance by creating a narrow base of support.
  2. Want an extra challenge?  Close your eyes for five seconds after every third foot placement.  Make sure to engage your abs first so you don’t fall over”. 

 Quoted from: Stealth Workout by Kathleen Trotter (http://www.kathleentrotter.com/),  Globe and Mail, January 7, 2013.