Walk Like an Animal
Before our antecedents became human beings they were animals. We, of course, are still technically animals, but we have added a layer of conscious, intentional thought and action that exerts some control over how we move. Over at least our last 500 generations we have applied this layer to manipulate our surroundings to better accommodate ourselves. For many of us, how we move has matured as a hybrid subset of our intrinsic movement capacities attuned to success within our urban surroundings. As our urban setting has increased in complexity, and an increasing number of generations of our ancestors therein abided, this subset of our movement capacities has persistently contracted, their roles replaced by our energy-hungry innovations.
We easily experience enhanced movement potentials by mimicking how we imagine animals move. While we play in this way we adopt an active, dynamic posture, coming up on the balls of our feet and reveling in the interplay between gravity and our stance or gait. Our vision, hearing, and sense of smell more directly connect with our sense of our body. Our skin becomes more sensitive. Our sense of the immediate moment is heightened, past and future fading in relevance.
We might ordinarily consider this enhanced function and awareness as extraneous “noise” that interferes with our focus on tasks at hand. However, we ignore underutilized inherent potentials at our peril. The adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” applies here. Censoring the rich experience flowing up through our form diminishes our awareness of and connection to the innate wisdom of the Living Web from which we are created. We usually cannot comprehend the complex entirety of this web, but we can experientially embody our animal lineage through the intention behind how we move. Doing so holistically influences all aspects of our well-being – consider the vitality and vigor of animals innately expressing their roles within the Living Web.
Opportunities to play as animals may not make it onto our busy agendas. We can, however, apply exercise that subtly extends our neuromotor scope while employed within daily activities. The Gait Assessment tool presented here supports activating a broader spectrum of our movement potentials as we move. This tool does not assess gait relative to some idealized form by promoting one style of animal motion, but rather simply scores forward gain for vertical kinetic energy expenditure, i.e., the gait pattern efficiency. Higher scores correlate with patterns maximally engaging our innate locomotive neurology and physiology – our animal birthright. As these patterns develop we grow into a richer, more native physical expression aligned to our design within the Living Web, thereby nurturing its fluid capacity for our rejuvenation and regeneration, concurrently enhancing our awareness of its presence. With this feedback there is no highest score – the optimization of bipedal movement in Earth’s gravitational effect converges towards, but never reaches ∞ (infinity).