Monday, February 18, 2013

A New Way to Walk

-- by Tom Phillips

I got a new way to walk!   I made it up myself, incorporating tips from Pilates and various types of dance.  It’s fast, efficient, and easy on the joints.  Of course, the online world is already well stocked with tips on how best to carry on this simplest of human exercises, so much of what I suggest may be familiar.  But I checked, and nobody else puts it together quite this way.  So here it is, my new way to walk:  

Lift your gut, drop the tailbone, and soften your knees.  Tilt slightly forward, and glide.   

To expand: 
Lifting the gut doesn’t have to be strenuous, just enough to get some weight off the hips.  The more weight you can carry upstairs, the less pressure on the lower joints. 

Dropping the tailbone means bringing the upper body into a vertical line, in preparation for moving.   Softening the knees is not really bending them, just not locking them.   A locked joint is a poor shock absorber.  

How to start moving?  Rather than use muscle, just tip the whole body slightly forward, leading with the sternum, and one foot will glide out to prevent a fall.  Want to go faster?  Pull the gut up higher and lean more forward. Don’t lengthen your stride in front, just push a little harder off the back foot.  Swing your arms gently in opposition.   When you really get going you can speed up by extending your arms in front, with a soft punching motion, out and in. 

Don’t walk with both hands in your pockets!  I did this last year, tripped over something and landed on my chin.  Eight stitches.  Try my new line of walking gloves, keep hands warm while swinging them in opposition!   Just kidding, this is not a commercial scheme, just an old man hoping to share his latest self-discovery.   

I always disliked walking as an exercise until I discovered this technique.  Now it’s a pleasure.  Walking briskly like this gets the heart rate up and keeps it there for as long as you want, but doesn’t make you pant or sweat.   

Try it, you might like it.  Lift the gut, drop the tailbone, soften the knees.  Tilt slightly forward, and glide.  As Miss Piggy sang, I got a new way to walk, and my new walk suits me fine! 

-- Copyright 2013 by Tom Phillips







  1. Get out of the way! Tom's walking!!! Arms out front, softly punching the air.
    Keep up the good work - and so glad to be playing with you, too! At least you'll be sitting down. Whew!


  2. You've stumbled (so to speak) into a beautiful way of telling SIMPLY how to walk using the Alexander Technique - which few Alexander teachers seem willing or able to do (for some good reasons when people have years to train). Most people don't do well with the "think up and forward" and "walk with an integrated spine" instructions for many months.

  3. Dear anonymous --- "think up and forward" really helps. Your weight is forward but you don't want to be looking down, you want to push through the air like the prow of a ship. Walking like this makes me feel young and strong!

  4. You forgot the part about talking to yourself as you go.... ;-)