Isn’t it a joy to see someone walking along with a spring in their step, an easy stride, arms swinging naturally and feely? You can be pretty certain if they are moving in this way that their spine looks long and free and maybe they are looking around, taking in the sights…poetry in motion. As we age it becomes increasingly important to maintain our agility and the ability to be able look around without compromising balance. Contrast the happy person walking along above with someone stumping one foot after the other, short flat-footed stride, locked back, rounded shoulders, forward head position, eyes resolutely forward. This hardened gait is at best tiring, jarring and at worst is a fall waiting to happen.
Keeping our agility relies on maintaining foot and hip mobility, leg and buttock strength, and engagement and strength in the core muscles so the spine is free to lengthen and the limbs are free to move as they were designed to do. It also relies on thoracic (upper back) extension and mobility and neck stability, which is important in maintaining our range of sight lines and balance.
Putting a little effort into mobilising and strengthening the areas mentioned will allow the spine to extend more easily and our natural easy movement patterns will start to re-emerge. We’ll look younger, feel less tired, and maybe put a smile in someone else’s day when they admire us swingin’ down the street.