CORRECT WALK GIVES POISE (Feb, 1937)
CORRECT WALK GIVES POISE
TO BUSINESS GIRLS By Helen Macfadden
There Is Style and Charm as Well as Efficiency in the Bodily Carriage of One Who Walks Correctly
THE new girl reached her desk without causing particular notice until the office boy and the boss began casting admiring glances at her. Then it wasn’t long before about every girl in the room had measured the amazing length of those golden eyelashes and wondered how much a haircut like that cost.
It’s funny what a new girl can do to an office—and this blonde certainly scored her share of attention. And it certainly wasn’t all from the girls. We took her in, you know, and by the time you could say “typewriter” we knew there was competition.
While she made her way about the office that day she caused comment. She had an air, a style. You liked to watch her. She was slim, of medium height and rounded. She wore her brown crepe nicely. Watching her, I knew it wasn’t her style or size or eyelashes that made her attractive. I knew that girl had studied how to walk!
Walking correctly is so smart and so simple. Yet, nothing a person can do is so beneficial both to looks and health. The trick is to learn the right way, which surprisingly is something few persons know. It is hard to believe—but most of us desk sitters walk on our hips instead of our feet. You see, we sit so much it becomes a habit to rest the weight of our bodies on the hips. When walking, then, we wonder why we do not enjoy it, why the exercise claimed to be the most healthful of all can be so tiring. If this is the way a hike makes you feel it is because you have not learned the trick of throwing your weight to your heels and rolling it to your toes.
While the hip joints are the most vital spots in correct walking, their function is to promote the smoothness which comes from controlling muscles in action. If the weight of the body is allowed to rest on these joints, steps will be mincing and walking becomes waddling. You have never seen a person who liked to walk waddle—simply because waddlers never enjoy the business of locomotion. Another thing, waddlers usually are hippy for the obvious reason they do not exercise hip muscles enough to stir circulation. They walk with the feet, but on their hips. And the most expensive girdles and hand-made shoes will not remedy this. But pointing the toes forward, stepping, taking care to bring the heel down first, then swinging the weight to the ball of the foot, rolling it on to the toes—striding as you step—will perform miracles in figure, posture, grace. It takes only a few walks to prove this.
Of course, to walk it is silly to wear high heels. And once you experience the thrill of a real walk you no longer will want to wear them. You want balance, the feeling of being on the ground.
In taking a step your leg should not rotate outward, but if you turn your toes out this is likely to occur. Try pointing the toes straight ahead as though you were tracing a path marked by two straight lines. Your feet are to mark the lines, from toes to heels. As you step, think of your legs swinging rhythmically from your hips, swinging back and forth, so that your feet will follow the two straight lines. This is the way the Indians walked, heels striking first. As the weight shifts along the length of the foot you feel muscles stretch from shoulders to heels. It is best to have arms free so you can swing them, so back, shoulder and arm muscles come in for circulation.
We girls who spend most of our days in a desk chair need walking and lots of it. There is no better reducing exercise, no better builder-upper, either.
A walk gives you an appetite, it makes food digest. It is the best tonic for normalizing elimination, which as we all know is the only reason for good complexion.
When I first started to work in an office my father offered me a hundred dollars if I would walk four hundred miles in one month—but only if I kept up my regular office hours. This meant getting up every other morning at 4 o’clock and walking twenty miles, and the alternate morning walking ten miles. I wondered if I could take it—and I guess he did, too.
I went through stages of blisters and periods of exhaustion. But as the month wore on my pep grew. It got so I liked to hit the park in my low heels and tweeds. Food never tasted so delicious before, and although I ate everything I wanted, I didn’t gain a pound. During that month I formed the habit of walking, and rain or shine now I never miss my daily hike. ^ I learned not to be afraid to walk in the rain. Rainwater is grand for the complexion. It doesn’t hurt to get your clothes, even your feet wet, as long as you walk briskly enough to keep up circulation and, therefore, keep warm. And as long as you change to dry clothing when you reach home.
Once you get the habit of walking, you feel the earth is your gymnasium. You can practise anywhere, even in the aisles of the office. It is a relief to welcome a walk, and what a lot of complaining to yourself you save, when you can look down the avenue and feel pleased that you can cover the blocks in ease.
At first take blocks, then miles will be easy. Put on low heels and loose-fitting clothes. As you start on that walk, always think of pulling your body to order— that is, straighten your spine, not your shoulders or legs, but your spine. Lift your head as though somebody yanked your side curls, point toes forward, remember your hips, not to rest your weight on them, but to raise it by bracing your chest. You “~ will create a mental picture of line in yourself and as you stride briskly every step will help make this picture a reality. As you step off the miles you will wear down the body’s bulges and stubborn bumps which are common to desk workers.
If the calves of your legs complain because you discarded high heels for low ones on your walk, here is an exercise which will work out soreness and help you stride further. It is excellent for poise and balance: Stand with feet slightly apart, as in walking, and place hands on hips. With head erect and body in walking position, rise on toes, then bend knees, lowering body until back thighs rest on heels. Your weight will rest on the balls of your feet, heels will be raised, as in walking. Rise slowly, first by forcing heels to floor, then forcing the sore muscles to straighten upward. Try this six times morning and evening and mastering correct walking will seem less of a task.