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running and walking gaits

Nov 12, 2021

Most people run without putting much thought into their form. The cycle a leg travels through during running/walking is called your Running/walking gait. Your gait has 2 phases, stance and swing. Your stance phase is the time when your foot is in contact with the ground and your swing phase is when your foot is in the air. Your running gait has a sub-phase called float. The float phase is when neither foot is on the ground and your body is completely in the air.

Abnormalities in our Gaits can cause acute pain and longer term injury. Perfecting your gait will help with general endurance and speed. Everyone’s gait is unique. Past injury and imbalances will change your gait, and it can be hard to notice your own imperfections.

Your foot ware will have an effect on your gait. People that have shoes with large and cushioned soles will tent to me fits contact with their heals, while minimalist footwear in bare feet tend to have contact at the mid-foot.

Though the gait mostly refers to how your legs are moving It is important to realize that your upper body has a gate of its own. Your arm swing in the rotation of your core is part of your overall gate and changes in this can have a great positive affects. A simple aspect of our upper body gait is your forearm positions. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground so if you’re running on flat ground your forearms should be flat if you’re running uphill your forearm should be tilted slightly upward and when you’re running downhill your hands should be slightly lower than your elbows pointing the forearm down. My old cross country coach describe the motion of the forearms like you were skiing your forearms should be moving forward and backwards not up and down or side to side it should be like they’re moving straight on a railing on each of your sides.

The best way to improve your gait is to watch others and to experiment yourself. try running your normal distances with minor changes and see how those make you feel. if you’re experiencing pain or reoccurring injuries seek a professional who can help evaluate your gait and give you proper changes from a third-person perspective.

Best wishes

Brett Stanley, Certified Personal Trainer

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