Sunday, December 4, 2011

Walk Like a Model

I used to do these exercises when I was a kid to get in shape for ski season, so I never understood how hard they were for the teenaged girls I tried to teach to walk like a model. They were second nature for me. Stand against a wall with your back pressed from upper spine to tailbone into the wall.  Then slowly walk your feet out from the wall, keeping your spine pressed to the wall so that there is no space from shoulders to tailbone, as you make yourself the shape of a kitchen chair without the kitchen chair beneath you.  Then hold it until you feel the burn. Keep your spine pressed into the wall all the way down and your stomach flat. Keep your shoulders back and down. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it....

The easy version of this is to lie on the floor with your legs bent, roll your pelvis forward, press your spine into the floor from just below shoulder blades to tailbone, tighten your stomach muscles, then slowly lower your legs to a straight position while keeping your spine pressed into the floor and your stomach muscles tight. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it until you think you can't another second. Sounds so easy doesn't it.  Then repeat several times. And do it several times a day for days on end until it's second nature and you can do it standing against the wall and you can do it walking. Then that's the way you always walk.  Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down, back straight, pelvis rolled forward, stomach flat, lead with the hips...

If you do yoga it probably is easy. If you ski it probably is. If you model it probably is. It's why at fifteen modeling was so easy for me and was into my fifties.  But a couple of bad sports injuries and one backyard fall in my mid-fifties plus taking care of my mother put me out of my profession permanently and now my back is killing me.

I have Lumbar Stenosis. Now the exercises I have to do at physical therapy are some of the same exercises I used to give to teenagers who wanted to learn to walk like a model. And every muscle in my lower back, inner thighs, and stomach is screaming in pain. It never occurred to me that the poor little girls were in agony trying to roll their pelvises forward enough to get their spines flat against the floor to hold that posture long enough to strengthen their gut muscles enough to hold that posture in an upright position.  I have the advantage in that my body has the sense memory of this posture.  I know how to roll my pelvis forward, straighten my spine, hold my gut in, and walk like a model. I never realized before how hard it is. God it hurts.

32 comments:

Lisa said...

Ish. Back pain. It's awful. I should start doing some of the exercises. Maybe what I think is arthritis might be helped by them.

Utah Savage said...

I have a lovely little handout from my Ukrainian physical therapist, Orislava. The first day I did them I thought, "What's the big deal, this is so easy." The next day I was crippled. I've been avoiding them since. Today I wrote this just to kick my ass a little. The main part is to "Walk like a model."

Lisa said...

I'll practice that walk. I expect it will look hilarious for a while.

Utah Savage said...

When I say roll your pelvis forward that may be misleading, It sounds so obscene to say lead with your pudenda.

Lisa said...

Ha! Noted.

Madam Z said...

Maybe those exercises will counteract my "computer posture," which is, slouched in my chair, head and neck forward, stomach rolling out onto my lap. I can only hope.

Utah Savage said...

Madame Z, I got such a severe injure to my neck from sitting at my computer with my legs twisted into a pretzel, my neck craned forward, shoulders hunched, and gut cradled in my lap that I need my own Tynze unit to shock my neck and shoulder muscles into relaxing. This posture leads to headaches you just can;t get rid of, not to mention, neck and shoulder pain. It takes a heap of rubbing to relax those muscles. Fortunately Medicare pays for physical therapy if your doctor says you need it. Ditto the neat little Tynze unit.

Enigma4ever said...

ahhhh but you are still beautiful...so yeah walk that walk...;-)

and sorry for the pain...;-)

Suzan said...

I have neck and back (and shoulder) injuries too, but I've done yoga since 19 so it's not debilitating.

Breathe.

Stretch.

Easy.

Don't overdo.

Breathe!

S

Truth 101 said...

I told my wife to try this and she thought I was suggesting a sex game. She said I disgusted her and made me take her to Olive Garden to make up to her.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Hope the back is feeling better.

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