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Fix bad walking habits before you injure yourself, from the Harvard Health Letter

February 2, 2009

For healthy adults, walking is so automatic that it’s impossible to remember having learned how to do it. Yet it’s easy to pick up a few bad habits along the way that make our walks less efficient—and maybe even injurious. The good news is that even patterns established over a lifetime can be reversed, reports the February issue of the Harvard Health Letter.

Ideally, by adulthood a person will walk with head erect, back straight, arms bent, knees extending and flexing, and feet striking the ground with the heel and pushing off with the toes. Our upper bodies also get into the act. Unfortunately, few of us achieve the ideal gait, and fewer still maintain it. Over time, we may lower our heads and thrust our trunks forward. Instead of swinging, our arms may dangle listlessly at our sides.

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