Coming off my sciatica injury and reduced training schedule, I perhaps would have never finished the Big Sur International Marathon on Sunday, April 25, 2004, without the use of Stretch Walking along the way. What’s Stretch Walking? It’s my name for a series of diverse walking steps designed by myotherapist Tasso Spanos of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
To improve your distance walking or running, I recommend that you practice the following dynamic stretching routine on a daily basis:
- 12 steps Pigeon Toed (toes pointing in), 12 steps Normal
- 12 steps Duck Walk (toes pointing out), 12 steps Normal
- Repeat 1 & 2
- 12 steps Charlie Chaplin (bent over at the hip, hands on lower back), 12 steps Normal
- 12 steps West Side Story (lunge and click fingers to outside of flexed knee), 12 steps Normal
- Repeat 4 & 5
- 12 steps Heel Lift (elevate with each step), 12 steps Normal
- 12 steps Skip (smile with each stride), 12 steps Normal
- Repeat 7 & 8
- 12 steps Sideways Right (right over left and left over right), 12 steps Normal
- 12 steps Sideways Left (left over right and right over left), 12 steps Normal
- Repeat 10 & 11
- 24 steps Backwards, 24 steps Normal
The variety of these strides not only provide dynamic stretching of various muscle groups, they also provide relief for the muscles most commonly used in walking and running. Some people, who were unable to walk significant distances any other way, have found that Stretch Walking provides them the relief they need to keep going.
During a marathon, I practice these steps through the water stops. As part of my daily training, I use them at the end of a run. Once they become routine, they can be easily performed at other times as well (e.g., while talking on the telephone)To learn more about the benefits of Tasso’s techniques, read the article published a couple years ago in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
Tasso has other drills as well, that stretch the core, arm, and upper-body muscles. With more than 100 dynamic stretches, his Feeling Better Exercise Video is a great resource for those who want to do it easy. I recommend it highly, either as a warm up to and cool down from more vigorous exercise or as a stand-alone routine.
Coaching Inquiries: Do you walk, run, or exercise on a daily basis? How could Stretch Walking become part of your routine? Would be embarrassed to be seen walking in such an odd way? How can you take charge of your own health and wellness?
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