What You Need to Know About Your Gait
These days to get anywhere we not only have to talk the talk but walk the walk. Since man first could he has judged a person by how they look and how they walk is a huge part of it. It’s so ingrained in our psyche it probably goes back to some ancient hunter-gatherer survival instinct. Yet how you are walking isn’t something you might think about until you find out you can’t do it. But perhaps if we all being judged on our gait it would helpful to know something about it.
Fast Walkers Vs Slow Walkers
Your walking style says a lot about you. Usually, fast walkers are extroverts and outgoing. They are more concerned about how they are perceived and conscientious of others’ opinions. It has also been observed that fast walkers possess lower neuroticism. They exhibit an openness to experiences and have a positive approach to life.
On the other hand, slow walkers are usually introverts. They are cautious people and often self-centered. They look inside more often than they look outside for opinions and approval. Usually, people walking at a slower pace slightly bow their head which demonstrates how they are preoccupied with their own thoughts.
When you are walking in an anxious state you are more likely to bend slightly towards the left. It has been noted that anxious walkers cannot maintain a straight head whilst walking. The reasoning proposed is that the right hemisphere of the brain deals with most of the anxious thoughts and it has to work hard to resolve the emotional conflicts and ambiguities. This shifts the head weight slightly on the left side and anxious walkers veer left while walking.
Drivers are walkers whose body weight is usually forward and their walking fast-paced. They are the people who can multitask while walking. For instance, talk on the phone or resolve a problem mentally as they walk. They are the ones who occasionally trip or bump into an obstacle but are not the least bothered about it. Drivers possess a positive personality. They are usually the most intelligent, logical and have cognitive personalities. They are also the most productive and have good organizational skills.
Drivers are usually assumed cold and unemotional in nature although they receive a lot of admiration for their superior cognition. They are usually very competitive and determined and pay little heed to emotional details which makes them appear stony and distant. If you are a driver and don’t want to be labeled as cold then pay more attention to interpersonal relationships. Small things such as greeting and making eye contact or even sparing a little time for admiring the beauty of nature will soften your image boost your more positive personality traits.
Social walkers are walkers who tend to socialize with people as they are on their way. They smile and greet people around them as they walk and are full of energy and enthusiasm. They usually maintain an upright posture and walk with their head high, their chest forward and their shoulders slightly towards their back. These social buddies influence people around them and often become the highlight of the gathering.
Over Cautious Walkers
Over-cautious walkers are light on their toes and super conscious about their every move. They often focus on the ground while walking to avoid tripping or bumping into things and also keep their arms close to their sides to avoid clashing with others.
The overcautious walkers also tend to be quiet as they walk and don’t indulge in multitasking. Their prime focus is walking and they are too concerned about avoiding any mishap. They don’t talk on the phone or walk and talk and this depicts their introvert nature. They are also very kind, concerned about others and not self-centered although they expect the same from others although they avoid verbal communication.
Over Protective Walkers
People walking with a slumped posture with shoulders forward are considered overprotective walkers. The slumped posture indicates they want to protect themselves from any plausible emotional or mental trauma. There may be the possibility of a recent trauma and they are going through the recovery or post-traumatic period.
All of the information above regarding gait or walking style is based on observation and assumption. We can only develop an opinion about the walker on what they show us and these opinions are not necessarily valid or true.
Gait And Diseases
You may have already started thinking of what type of a walker you are, but it is interesting to know that your gait may have something to do with your health. Let’s find out more about it.
Walking on toes is very normal for children who are learning to walk but this same toe walking is not normal in older children or adults. It is a symptom of some physical or mental trouble.
Often walking on toes is a presentation of the walker having a shortened Achilles tendon which does not allow the heel to rest on the ground comfortably. Other reasons may be muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy issues. Often children with Autism walk in tip toe style.
Limping means exerting more pressure on one leg than the other when walking. People walk with a limp when they have a physical disability or there is injury on one of the legs. But sometimes you start limping without any apparent cause and often this limping increases silently at a gradual pace. This sudden limping can be an indicator of an underlying issue such as osteoarthritis.
Moving One Whole Side Together
Some people move one whole side as they walk. They seem as if balancing their body against some internal force. Often people with a pulled muscle or a herniated disc walk in this style. They tend to balance so their chest shoulder and hip alignment is disturbed and this has a cascade effect on the surrounding muscles pulling the entire skeleton out of alignment so their posture become imbalanced when walking.
Slapping step is walking with a gait that suggests to the observer you are climbing stairs. This is obviously not a normal way of walking and indicates underlying weaknesses. Slapping steps are usually due to muscle weakness but there are certainly other causes such as an injury to nerves, or the brain, a spinal disorder, muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis. In most cases, only one foot is observed to be floppy but in some, there is weakness or floppiness in both feet.
Dragging Your Feet
Often people drag their feet out of habit but for others, foot dragging is due to physical or mental issues. In old age especially dragging feet should not be taken lightly as it could be due to some defect in the legs or hips. In a few cases, feet dragging is due to Parkinson’s disease and is termed Parkinson’s gait. The brain deteriorates in Parkinson’s disease and sufferers lose grip and control over reflexes and movements. Sometimes this means the brain stops responding to the stimulus of shifting balance forward to make leg muscles contract and relax for walking instead of lifting the feet to step they drag them instead.
Variations In Monthly Cycles
The menstrual cycle in women affects their gait significantly. Women at different stages of their cycle walk differently. This could be due to shifted weight to accommodate a sometimes painful and contracting uterus that puts pressure on the lower spine around the pelvis restricting movement. There could also be the influence of hormones including testosterone as they are released at different stages in the cycle having an effect on muscle tone.
If you enjoy a good walk and are aware of benefits of walking, you’ve probably spotted your style, but if you are the last one to walk any further than car it might have been harder. But just by considering how you want to look as you start walking from your location A to location B, could give you the motivation to build on the good and recognize the bad so you can get down to work walking the walk.