I like to sing this old blues song to toddlers, “I like the way you walk, I like the way you walk, You my babe, I got my eyes on you.”
I was thinking about that song recently when a relative who’s an orthopedist said my toddler grandson walks just like his mother.
The doctor is a connoisseur of walks, which he says are like signatures. I believe him. I often recognize people from afar by their walk. And in detective stories, any perp who wants to do a thorough job of disguising himself puts a pebble in a shoe to throw off his walk.
When I read an article in the Boston Globe indicating that most of us walk all wrong, I thought, “Is it a good idea to change your signature?” Look what happened when left-handed children were forced to become right-handed.
Actors can learn to speak in a new way for a role. Newsmen can get rid of their accents. But if something is a deep part of who you are, can you change it, even to save your joints?
Here is the article that caught my eye.
“[Cara] Lewis studies the way people walk and believes that if they can learn how to move properly, taking the stress off their hips, they may avoid the injuries and joint deterioration that often lead to a hip replacement down the road. …
“ ‘They may not be pushing with their foot as much as they should be,’ Lewis said, ‘or they may be taking too long of a step, so their leg ends up far behind them.’ …
“The plastic and metal robotic device she designed, which is strapped around the pelvis and thighs, weighs about 11 pounds and is powered by an air compressor attached to each thigh — think bicycle pump — that is turned on by the researcher at the precise point when a person walking on a treadmill needs some correction. For instance, the compressor can exert pressure on the front of the thigh to shorten a stride.”
Just thinking about it makes me want to lie down.