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Learning to Walk in Winter

30% of Over 65’s will have at least one fall every year!


Winter brings hazards of snow, ice, and slippery pavements.


These hazards can have drastic consequences.



Ice covered footpath
Icy Paths Everywhere


Why does this happen?


A loss of muscle mass and postural degradation, usually caused by poor posture and osteoporosis, contributes to the risk of falling and more breaks and fractures when falls happen. 


Using the Alexander Technique, I help clients manage their posture and body movements, increasing their resilience, and decreasing their risk of injuries.


So what can we do to reduce the chance of falls when walking outside in autumn and winter? 


First, think about how you walk.


Do you stride out


Are you always in a hurry


Do you pick your feet up or shuffle?


 Do you wear high heels or shoes with inflexible soles? 


So many factors affect how we walk, and everyone's gait is unique. 


When working with my pupils, I have found two walking styles which can cause problems:


  • Striding out means weight is committed before our back has a chance to catch up. Heel strike forces weight backward and wastes energy, meaning walking becomes more effortful than necessary. 


  • Bending forward and shuffling increases the chance of tripping and ultimately can cause abdominal muscles to atrophy due to lack of use.



snow covered path with lots of footprints
Winter Walking



Try these exercises:


  • Try walking backward! Smaller stride lengths will happen naturally because the body instinctively won't let you commit to a fast pace or long stride when you don't know if there is a hole or obstacle behind you. 


  • Alternatively, when walking, look ahead of you at a tree or lamppost. Imagine it coming towards you rather than you moving towards it. 



  • Small steps keep you balanced. If you need to speed up, try increasing the cadence of steps rather than increasing the stride length. 



  • Can you stand on one leg and lift your other leg without overly distorting your back and hips? Your whole body weight will have to adjust a little to the standing side, but you shouldn't have to stick your hip out or bend to the other side. 


  • As you’re walking, think of it as a constant shifting of weight from foot to foot caused by the raising of the heel on your back foot. 



What you'll learn from Alexander Technique


The Alexander Technique is an umbrella skill that you can apply to all your activities–work, sports, housework, gardening, acting and musical performance, hobbies. 


How does it work? I work with you to identify habits that affect your day-to-day movement patterns and I give you a process to follow to alter those patterns so that you can move with a feeling of lightness and ease. 



Before and After client photos showing improved posture
The difference good posture can make!


I use my hands to give feedback to your muscular system and you’ll experience different ways to move, for example by lifting a limb for you or guiding your head and neck throughout a movement. 


In a lesson, we might address a way of thinking that affects how you move, e.g.: 


Do you hurry everywhere? 


Are you always looking after other people and ignoring your own needs? 


Do you worry about what people will think of you? 


Do you suffer from performance nerves? 


We will look at the way thoughts influence movement and find strategies to bypass potentially harmful habitual ways of moving. 

 

Improving your posture makes you look younger and feel better and protects you from injury. 


So why not give Alexander Technique a go? 








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