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Jul 31 2017

Stack your Boxes: Strategies for standing and walking

Blocks Cover.jpg 
"Boxing" by Les Chatfield. Some rights reserved. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

One of the most common physical complaints clients bring to us is pain in their back and knees when they are standing and walking. We live in a hilly area so add to that the challenge to their joints when walking up and downhill.

This is one of my favorite topics as I feel that people should be able to walk freely without pain for as long as they would like. Walking is important for so many reasons including cardiovascular health, joint mobility, balance, bone density, psychological well-being, and on and on and on. Best of all, walking is free and can be done indoors or outdoors all year round regardless of where you live. 

 

My favorite past time is watching people walk, which my clients can attest to, as it is so curious to me how we manipulate and contort our bodies simply to move forward in space. The challenge most people face is how they carry the weight of their bodies as they walk. People have interesting ways of holding themselves as they move, often tipped forward leading head first, and sometimes leaning back and leading with the pelvis. 

 One strategy I use with clients is to imagine your body as a stack of boxes: one box for your lower legs, one for your upper legs, one for the pelvis, then the torso and finally the head. As you stand, without changing anything, notice how your boxes stack. Are they piled neatly one on top of the other, or do you have some forward, some back or maybe some shifted to the side or even rotated? Try it for yourself. Go ahead, stand up and check your boxes. 

 

Now working from the ground up, start to gently shift each box back into place until all feel as uniformly stacked as possible for you. What did you notice? Did your weight shift back onto your heels, do you feel taller, did your low back relax? Great place to start.