When we look at how people walk, especially those in pain, often they have lost their “Swagger”. The swagger is a fluid, efficient walking pattern.
If we look at how a child moves, they make use of multiple dimensions of movement; they move in every direction without restriction. They mainly do this through play and it is crucial for development of both their body and brain. Unfortunately, as we age or accumulate injuries, our movements change. This could be due to adopting bad habits or to avoid pain and we lose our fundamental patterns.
The most fundamental of movement patterns that makes us human, is walking.
The Swagger occurs when we are able to synchronise the upper and lower body, so that the torso rotates smoothly in the opposite direction to the pelvis. Think about how the lid on a jar moves as you rotate it from one direction to the other. This pattern makes correct use of the abdominal muscles, and when co-ordinated with a good breathing pattern should make you feel like you are lighter on your feet and more efficient when walking. It can also encourage tight muscles to release around the lower back and neck, as they learn to contract and relax in a more normal movement pattern and ultimately reduce any pain you have in your body.
You can try this at home by imagining you have a torch attached to your sternum (chest bone). As you bring your left leg forward with arms relaxed, direct the torch to 11 o’clock, then change to right leg forward torch to 1 o’clock. Continue walking forward rotating your ‘torch’ between 11 and 1. Breathe to your lower ribcage as you walk and allow the lower abdominals to move your body as they were designed to.
If you would like to know if you have lost your Swagger, allow one of our physiotherapists to assess you in our clinic.