All Walking is Not Created Equal

When it comes to walking, most of us have a strong preference between walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill. We tend to think these activities are interchangeable from a health perspective, but are they? The surfaces that we walk on change the experience of our body and the muscles that we use.

Walking overground should be powered by the backs of our legs with our torso vertical. In order to propel us forward, our muscles generate a pushing action behind us to push the ground away. On the other hand, a treadmill forces our body to do exactly the opposite, relying on a walking pattern driven by the muscles in the front of the hip and thigh to catch yourself because the “ground” is coming toward you. Therefore, treadmill walking is not the same as walking overground.

So Why Does This Matter?

For most of us, the muscles of the fronts of our hips are already shortened due to time spent sitting every day. Treadmill use encourages further shortening and overuse of...

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The Foundations of a Movement Practice

Today, moving more to accomplish daily tasks is viewed as an inconvenience. We now have access to devices serving the sole purpose of making our lives easier, from electronic kitchen appliances, to phones, to vehicles. These devices externalize the work of our muscles, effectively outsourcing the work of our body. “Upgrading” to their product results in doing less work throughout our day. This is promoted by advertisers as sign of status, progress, and luxury. A device that results in less work is the ultimate end goal and this message is thrown at us from every direction.

However, convenience in this case comes with a major down side. Humans were intended to move. Our movement impacts not only our physical health, but our mental health and overall wellbeing as well. The focus of my career as a physical therapist is to improve a person’s quality of life through movement. Over the years, I have noticed a common theme among medically compromised individuals who...

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