Sadly, I just read an article online that was coaching women on the proper way to sway their hips to appeal to men when walking. You can’t over-do the sway too much or it will look like you’re trying too hard; it’s apparently got to be subtle and look natural. They suggested throwing on a pair of high heels and just letting the sway come naturally. Then they posted a video of two women walking in heels, hips swaying and described it as the “RIGHT way to walk.” This Pilates instructor wanted to cry a little.
I get it. We want to be sexy. And maybe no one cares about proper walking mechanics and why women shouldn’t try to sway their hips. But here is why you should care. Walking properly, with a neutral pelvis, can help keep your joints safer and your muscles more balanced. This can provide you years of healthier, more active movements without the needs for hip and knee replacements. That sexy sway is going to look like a hobble one day when your hip hurts every time you step.
When we run or walk our pelvis should stay neutral and level. When we intentionally sway (or when swaying has become second nature from years of training), we actually have weak butt muscles. No woman wants a weak, flabby butt. I hate to convince people to do something healthy because it will make them look better, but a strong, toned glute medius muscles will help keep a nice shape to the side of your hips.
The Gluteus Medius is responsible for keeping the pelvis neutral when walking and standing so that the neither hip hikes up when we take a step and have one foot off the ground. When you sway your hips, one hip is hiking slightly each time. Instead of moving your bones and joints in a neutral position with every step you take you are placing an awkward torque on the knee and hip.
Try this exercises to see how healthy, happy and strong your gluteus medius muscle is.
Balance on one leg for 30-seconds. Can you keep your balance and your hips level? Try the other leg. Does one side feel easier? Look to this picture for guidance. You should be shooting for the first image, not the second. Start by trying to maintaining a level pelvis while standing. Then try to think about it on your next walk.
Want more exercises? Come to our next walking workshop:
When: October 23rd through the Wethersfield Adult Education
Location: Wethersfield High School 411 Wolcott Hill Rd (cafeteria) from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cost: $43 (includes tax), Plus $10 for optional materials