What do you and a Duck Have In Common?
You and a duck walk alike and it’s not the cool thing to do. What’s next; are you going to start migrating south for the winter?
Outside of being a self proclaimed Awesome Fantastic trainer with the English language skills of a 5th grader; I am a serial people watcher/observer. Don’t worry you would never know it, I am a ninja when it comes to people watching.It’s all about good peripherals and sometimes quality sunglasses.(don’t judge me).
Other than looking kind of weird this is not a good way to be walking around like a duck. It can even be part of the reason you have pain in some other areas; even though it might seem unrelated. With that said there are some people who have the bone structure that makes them walk like this. From the increased frequency of seeing this on the sidewalks and treadmills that would mean almost everyone has a structural problem which isn’t the case. I started to notice it first in a lot of overweight and obese people and then gradually I became aware it was more common than just those with weight issues. I began to realize that this wasn’t an obesity related issue and that it was fairly common regardless of weight or exercise experience. I was seeing people walk like a duck and know that one day they are going to be on a fitness journey and be sidelined by injury. It will seem random or out of the blue for them and only build frustration toward fitness or fear of an exercise or movement. We need to be aware of the potential for injury and do as much as we can to avoid it.
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So, are you walking like a duck; even standing and running like one too?
The odds are not in your favor.
If you are fortunate enough to work with a personal trainer then you are lucky because our industry has some easy tests that show this type of dysfunctional movement. The easiest and most most common is a walking assessment but, the squat test is also an option and might be more time efficient if you are short on time and want an all inclusive option. Some might use an arms overhead squat test but I can bet that 90% of people today would fail a squat assessment no matter where you put their arms. If you don’t have a trainer or fitness professional to help you then just help yourself. Do your own easy self assessment and look do at your feet while standing and walking. If you have a loyal friend you could also ask them if they would take a video of you jogging or running.
A gait Assessment thanks to Evidence Based Fitness Academy and Dr. Emily Splichal (advanced anatomy terms)
Why is it happening?
It is pretty simple, you are compensating how you move to be able to simply complete a movement. To “compensate” means your body has to move in a way to counterbalance or counteract a movement that it is having a hard time completing normally.
One of the reasons for that “walking like a duck” posture is because our bodies like efficiency and, walking like a duck is the easiest most efficient compensation to meet the requirements of the walking movement.
In order to walk; your foot has to(simplified) push/lift off the ground from behind you, clear the ground as it swings all the way to the front of you and then finally landing on your heel. Its easier for the body to compensate aka do less work and to walk like a duck instead of trying to do more work by auto-correcting on its own.
Some simple Strategies You can focus on If for whatever reason you refuse to ask for help from a fitness professional when you know you are walk like a duck.
- Go Barefoot more often in your leisure time.
- Avoid Stiletto type Heels or get better at walking in them
- they only add to the problem of structural issues.
- Get Out of Posterior Pelvic TIlt
- Practice Short Foot exercises
- Improve Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility (the opposite of pointing your toes like a ballerina)
- Improve Mobility in your Toe Joints…Big toe Especially.
- Increase standing Calf Strength
- Improve glute Medius Function
- Be more conscious of how you are walking
- Practice or learn how to Sprint Correctly.
- Find out If you have BUNIONS!
- Find Out if You have Flat Feet
- Find Out if your Arch is weak and Collapses in single leg stance or loaded movements.
Some Knowledge Nuggets from Kelly Starrett because it’s an issue in the active population also. Nobody wants to be sidelined by an injury. Remember injuries slow down your progress both in the short term and in the long term.
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If you are walking like a duck you are probably doing the same when jogging and sprinting.
Practice some of the ways you are standing.
Click the Picture for more about the Evidence Based Fitness Academy and their “From the Ground Up” Education