Saturday, 7 June 2008

Hey! Where'd You Get Your Walking Licence!? Out Of A Cereal Packet!?


A lot of us are doing it wrong.

You’d think that’d be a pretty tricky thing to manage to completely screw up, something as simple and fundamental as walking, but here we are.

I know, I was pretty surprised too, but apparently a lot of us completely fail walking.

I say ‘us’ because I’m one of the losers who has been putting one foot in front of the other in a completely inappropriate way for most of their life.

I’d managed to start dragging myself to the gym on a semi-regular basis at the end of last year and this stubborn penance for years of minimal activity and Uni student eating lasted all the way until April this year when my knees started to crap out on me.

I thought this was pretty bloody unfair.

All these years of doing balls all and I finally get off my arse to get my body into working order so I don’t turn into one of the grandma age ladies who look like an inverted L or, alternatively, a bean bag with legs and arms and my joints start mouthing off at me.

After giving up the gym and a nice long stretch of denial failed to do away with the mild but annoying ache I finally went to the doctor who sent me to the radiologist who said there were no ‘structural abnormalities’ and suggested I see a physio.

Going to the physio you always feel like half of what they ask you to do is for a hidden camera show or their own entertainment.

I was asked to walk up and down in a straight line, my pants rolled up to my knees whilst the physio crouched down and examined my gait like a judge at a dog show. I had to stand on one foot and then the other and then do some strange stretches that made the Village People’s timeless classic YMCA pop into my head.

And at the end of all this energetic knobbing around the physio nodded, satisfied with her observations, and told me that I was walking wrong.

Turns out that the slight sway to my hips is not a result of my middle name being ‘sexy’ but of poor walking technique.

I lose walking.

With the aid of some posters, a lovely plastic skeleton and stopping just short of pulling out hand puppets, she explained to me that there are a whole swag of muscles supporting your hips that work in cooperation with the muscles in your legs and back to manage walking.

Except mine weren’t. Mine were sitting around having a smoke and playing cards or something. So the whole walking deal was being managed by a couple of big muscles that run all the way down the outside of the leg, join up with some muscles in my back and stretch up across my shoulders.

As she explained how these muscles have basically just been slingshotting my full weight back and forth between them and been responsible for the entire ‘dynamic motion’ of my body for X amount of years I could almost hear the comedy rubber band sound effects.

So apart from being given some strange and embarrassing exercises to do to ‘wake up’ the muscles in the vicinity of my bum that I hope no one ever walks in on me doing, I started wondering how the hell do physiotherapists ever go outside?

Can you imagine walking down the street and mentally cataloguing exactly what everyone was doing wrong and imagining what they’ll look like in 20 years when they’ve done the body equivalent of wearing out their fan belts or snapping their cam shafts*?

How would you be able to stop yourself from running up to them and telling them to knock it off?

Probably in the same way dentists stop themselves from confronting people in the street, wild-eyed and earnest, offering them free toothbrushes and sample size packets of toothpaste.

Probably the way that you stop yourself from approaching people who are walking down the street in broad daylight wearing suspenders AND a belt AND sandals with socks.

Probably the way that die-hard environmentalists and vegetarians stop themselves from criticising other peoples’ lifestyle and dietry choi… Oh, wait…

Anyway, in the meantime me and this strange rubber tube thing-y that looks like I should be using it to shoot up in a public restroom are off to re-enact an Olivia Newton-John video clip**.

*This is pretty much the full extent of my knowledge of car terminology and I am probably using it wrong.

**No, not the one from Grease. God I wish…

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