Sunday, March 7, 2010

Z-Health Thought of the Day: Ground Forces Math

I'm not a math guy; I always did much better in English and art...and health of course. However, when I saw the math regarding ground forces with each walking stride, even I was impressed! What I have learned is that the fastest way to make a change in a person systemically is to work with their feet and ankles. Why? So I can improve their walking gait. Do the math. It's obvious. As I roll Z-Health into my daily business, the primary objective is to get people to walk better. Do the math-you'll see why. For people disabled in wheelchairs or walkers, I will shift up into the hands and wrists.

It all changes when the feet (or hands if using wheelchair) hit the ground!

A male weighing 200 pounds that doesn't have coordinated walking gait (most people in America basically), will triple their body weight per heel strike (Quality gait is 2x body weight per heel strike. Running=6-9x body weight. Sprinting=10-12x body weight).
*Ever wonder why "sprinters" are so muscular? It's largely because of the sprint gait itself remodeling their bodies due to the incredible ground forces math! 200x10=2000 pounds per foot strike!!! That's a lot of force and load which then causes the body to add muscle and bone density to handle these loads safely. Fascinating!

200 pounds x 3=600 pounds per heel strike during walking gait.

5,000 steps per day (somewhat sedentary or mildly active person)

600x5,000=3,000,000 (3 million) pounds per day

21,000,000 (21 million) pounds per week

84,000,000 (84 million) pounds per month

1,000,000,000 (1 BILLION) pounds+ per year!!!

Sorry-I don't have enough time to put 1 billion pounds of load on you in the gym even if I use all my kettlebells! But check this out...if I can improve how you walk, this becomes an exponential number even when I am not around to help you. Can you see how important this is to just improve walking gait? It's huge!

What I have learned is that by improving gait, most, if not all the problems all the way up the kinetic chain of movement can be improved or fixed. Got a neck problem? Fix how you walk. Got a shoulder problem? Hip? Knee? Many times it relates back into how the feet hit the ground and what happens from there up. Sometimes there can be an upper body problem that travels back down into the feet too-but more often than not, the feet and ankles are a great place to begin.

I expect many of you to walk better in 2010-it's that simple. Do the math. If we walk better, we do everything better whether it be running, kettlebells, hiking, swimming, or virtually ANY ACTIVITY. Quality gait means efficiency, and efficiency means optimized performance and safety. Want to come home Alive and Well Every Day? Walking better would be a great start! If you don't believe walking gait is a major safety and injury issue, check this out...

I began teaching people years ago about "force leaks" and Newton's Laws of Motion. Push force into the ground-this force comes right back up. If the "line" is crooked (joints are not lining up properly), the force line is altered. When you have 600 pounds of force pushing back up off the ground traveling up your body, and joints not working properly or aligned correctly, you not only lose performance in terms of strength and speed as the force "leaks" off the optimal line of strength and locomotion, but can add SHEER FORCE to your joint surfaces! Sheer force is one of the absolute worst things you can do to damage a joint surface. The alignment and function of your joints is absolutely critical to how safely you move and how well you move. When we talk about dynamic warm-ups and joint mobility with proper neurological function and biomechanical alignment-it's important!

For those with disabilities, we can do a lot with the hands and wrists to minimize shoulder, back, and neck issues. Your hands function as your feet, so if there are problems with how your hands roll on the wheels, or how your wrists articulate through the rolling pattern, we can have problems further up in the elbows, shoulders, etc.

So this is another sneak peek into my amazing transformation through Z-Health and neuroscience the last couple of months...and we are just getting started...I'm so excited because I have so many new tools and another great system for helping and healing people. It's getting to the point that if people around me want to move better with less or no pain-they will. It's that simple. Take the first step. I'll meet you half way. :)

Let's roll...and walk BETTER! Coach RJ

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