The least negotiable thing in my walking

When I started being able to walk 3-4 miles again, the next thing for me was to get a little faster at the walk.  One day I was walking to work and increasingly struggling along my way.  I noticed that I was throwing my left leg from behind me, and regaining control of it around where it was hitting the ground, with very little control of the middle part of the step.  All of the sudden I saw a picture in my head of a woman I have watched struggle with her walking for years, and how I was doing this reminded me of her walking gait.  It stopped me cold!  What I resolved that day was that the quality of the walking steps I take is less negotiable then the speed I am walking.

 

The next time I walked, every time I started having trouble, I stopped and tried something different to regain high quality steps.  I tried skipping, I tried extra stretching.  At some points I was stopping every 100 yards, because I was unable to take pretty steps.  Then I tried a particular stretch – squatting down, with y back against a bench.  It is a way I sit before yoga classes often, and I have done for the last few years about 10 minutes a day of it.  Well, when I stretched like that for 5 minutes, I was able to walk well for the next 1 ½ miles!

 

From there, I understood that doing this stretch (which I mostly feel in my hips) is the reason that I even had the idea to try walking farther than a mile in the first place.  Now when I get tight on my walks, I do this stretch, and most of the time I am fully refreshed and able to walk well for a bit farther.

 

I no longer try to go fast, I just focus on taking pretty steps, and how long it takes is irrelevant.  Sometimes I still go pretty fast (over 3 MPH), other times I dip below 2 MPH, but I do NOT throw my leg through the middle of the range of motion.

 

It’s been about 4 years now that I have been walking 4-5 miles once a week, and while there are new struggles this year that I have not yet solved (some additional stretches need to be discovered), I am still finding ways to make it easy for me to take good steps, and I enjoy this practice each week very much.

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