During the gait cycle our spine goes through flexion, extension, side bending and rotation. When we step forward and load onto that leg, the pelvis rotates away from the front leg, the lumbar & thoracic spine extends, rotates and sidebends toward the front leg and the cervical spine flexes, sidebends and rotates away from the front leg. If what you just read is "gobblygook" just look to the picture on the left. This soccer kick is a great demonstration of what the body does during gait: it is like a spiral.
Motion is our friend, and quite often we lose it, especially in the thorax. Look around at people walking, how many people do you see who have an arm swing, much less rotation at their trunk? Not many. Are you one of them?
Test yourself: in sitting rotate your trunk right and left. Ideally you should have moved about 45 degrees. In standing, plant your feet hip width apart and rotate, let your pelvis rotate as well. Ideally you should move the trunk 90 degrees. How did you do? You may notice that you are stiff in both directions, or just on one side. If you are stiff try these exercises below. And then see if you can incorporate arm swing and rotation into gait.
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