Upper/Lower Body Relationship to Walking

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Upper/Lower Body Relationship to Walking

Who knows why when you take a step forward with your left foot (when walking/jogging/running/sprinting) your right arm comes forward? Why doesn't your left arm follow your left foot? Why then (maybe) if we walk properly allowing, our left foot to step forward and our right arm to go forward, will that enhance our posture? This explanation is going to get pretty wordy, so find a picture of human anatomy online somewhere if you want to learn/understand even more. Let us take a trip down the glory of anatomy lane...

When you step forward with your left foot, your right foot is now back behind you. This means your right glute (butt) is flexed. Your glute is attached to the aponeurosis of your erector spinae, also called your lumbodorsal fascia, (I know they're big words, but it really just means the middle of your lower back). This all attaches to the vertebrae in your spine (lower back/lumbar area) and so does your Latissimus Dorsi muscle! (your mid-back muscles) So your opposite Lat muscle flexes, being your left Lat, pulling down your scapula (wing-looking bone in your upper back). As your left Lat pulls down your left scapula, your left deltoid muscle (left shoulder) comes down with it. This in turn swings your left arm forward. Whoo - Now breathe...yes, breathe.... There is a direct relationship (because of the aponeurosis of your erector spine) between your opposing gluteal and latissimus dorsi muscles, which is why your arms swing opposite your legs. What does this mean for our walking posture? Oh i'll tell you, but in the next paragraph.

Ah, welcome to the next paragraph. Next time you walk, watch your arms and legs. If you take short steps, you are more than likely not having your arms swing much. Or if you are taking good sized (comfortable) steps and your arms don't swing much, don't be alarmed. Most people (and I do mean most) have 'tight' Latissimus Dorsi muscles that have become weak because of over-worked/stressed upper Trapezius muscles. Next time you walk, try to swing your arms a little bit while keeping your shoulders down and locked in place (not letting them move up/down/side to side). The more the swing, the more your Lat's work and the better your posture becomes. Your Lat's are one of the muscles that, if strong, holds you up very tall and relieves most back pain. Do your best to check yourself out when you walk, and swing those arms a bit to enhance that posture!



1/3/2009 8:33:21 AM
David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com said:

Despite all of the big words (lol) I really found this article interesting. I wasn't aware there was such a scientific reason for the way we walk.

- Dave


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