The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Walk Lightly - Shock Absorption for Happier Joints

"Your tread must be light and sure
as though your path were upon rice paper

"This rice paper is the test
Fragile as the wings of the dragonfly

"Clinging as the cocoon of the silkworm
When you can walk its length and leave no trace
You will have learned"
- Master Khan to Grasshopper in the 70's TV series Kung Fu

Walk, run, jump, and move lightly.

Movement is good for you. Muscles pulling on bones increases bone density. Vibration through the body from rhythmic motion of running, dancing, jumping, and having fun transmits healthy and refreshing motion through the body. Banging down with each step is not good for your body. It increases wear, and risk of joint pain and plantar fasciitis.

I tell my students to stop jarring their joints without shock absorption when they walk and move and jump. One day, a student asked me "How?" Here are some things to try:

1. I asked the student to stomp his foot.
Then I asked him to place his foot down lightly. That is how.

2. Use an analog bathroom scale. Step on heavily and see the numbers go up high. Then step on again lightly and see that the last number reached is a lower number. In sports medicine, we use force plates to measure ground forces when an athlete jumps or runs by.

3. While moving, make less noise. It doesn't mean to tip-toe. Walk and run with regular heel to toe gait, but lightly.

4. Try walking with a full-to-the-brim cup of hot coffee or any liquid. Don't tip-toe, just walk softly without spilling any.

5. Practice jumping in the air and landing softly. Bend your knees when landing. Increase the height of the jump, maintain soft landing. Work up to jumping down from increasing heights without making a sound, or much sound.

More Fitness Fixer:

Photo © copyright Dr. Bookspan taken at a Malaysian backpackers hostel
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.