Walking comes naturally to human beings. It is built into our DNA. But have you ever noticed that people have different gaits? Some are fast walkers while others take their time. Some sway their arms with plenty of movement while others keep their arms closer to their sides. Some people even drag their feet rather than picking them up. That last point is what this post will cover.
Take a look around the internet at what health experts, exercise gurus, and podiatrists have to say and you'll discover a nearly unanimous belief that it's better to pick up your feet when you walk. Dragging your feet just isn't the best option. If you are a foot dragger, the way you walk is not the end of the world. But you might discover some benefits of consciously learning to pick up your feet instead.
Here are just a few of the possibilities:
Our bodies are designed to take fairly significant strides when we walk. If you know anything about geometry and triangles, you know that a wider base of the triangle formed by your legs increases stability. Picking up your feet naturally creates a bigger stride (triangle base) and improves balance.
However, there are a couple of caveats here. First, you don't want your stride to be too long, or you could run the risk of injuring yourself. And when you are walking on snowy and icy pavement, a shorter stride is a safer stride.
Picking up your feet and walking with a more pronounced stride actually requires more work from the muscles in your legs. That is actually a good thing. Few of us like actual work but putting forth the effort to walk properly makes the leg muscles stronger. That is especially important as we grow older.
Unfortunately, the combination of dragging your feet and spending a lot of time in a seated position reduces flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles. Getting up and walking improves flexibility. Better yet, picking up your feet and walking with a more pronounced stride improves flexibility even more. This is also important as we age.
Longer Lasting Shoes
The benefits of picking up your feet when you walk are not limited to your physical body. Some apply to your bank balance. For example, learning to pick up your feet will save you money by increasing the chances that your shoes will last longer.
When you drag your feet, you drag the heels of your shoes at the same time. Increased friction wears out the heels faster than they otherwise would, forcing you to buy new shoes more frequently. From our perspective, it is better to save your shoes by picking up your feet. The money you save can be invested in a good pair of our waterproof overshoes – an investment that will help your shoes last longer still.
Less Risk to Your Pants
Finally, dragging your feet puts the cuffs of your pants at risk. How so? If you prefer that your pants be long enough to extend down to the back of your foot, every stride equates to an opportunity for the back of the cuff to get caught under the bottom of your shoe. Dragging your foot under such circumstances means pinching the cuff between your heel and the ground. Pick up your feet and you reduce the chances of this sort of thing happening.
As a professional man, you really should pick up your feet when you walk. Dragging your feet behind you isn't good for you or your image.