Your Eyes Affect Your Stride

May 9, 2016

Improve Your Running and Walking Form: Your Eyes Affect Your Stride

Did you know that where you look when you walk or run affects the length of your stride? It all has to do with foot/eye coordination.

Elderly look down when walking


If you watch the elderly you’ll notice that when they walk they’re often looking down directly in front of their feet. They do this because they don’t want to fall. Ironically looking down directly in front of your feet destabilizes you and makes you more vulnerable to falling; it also shortens your stride and in extreme cases (like the elderly) causes a person to shuffle their feet. 


Do this little Feldenkrais® awareness experiment and notice what you do when you walk or run:

1. Go for a short run or walk (down the street and back will do) and notice where you’re looking when you’re lost in your thoughts and not paying attention to what you’re body is doing. If you find that your gaze seems to be directed more down than forward the following experiment will help you discover how this affects the ease of your running.

2. Looking forward at the horizon walk at a normal stride and stop when you’ve gone 10 paces. If you’re running go 20 paces. Make sure that you mark your starting and stopping points.

3. This time, as you walk or run the same distance, look down at the space just in front of your feet and count the number of steps you take.

4. How many more steps did it take you to cover the same distance when you were looking down? When I did this experiment the number of paces I walked increased from 10 to 16 when I looked down at the ground in front of me.

In spite of knowing where I should look when I run, my habit is to look at the ground 5 to 10 feet in front of me. I have to consciously remember to adjust my gaze farther ahead; if I do this I can feel an immediate change in my stride and the ease of movement. The next time you go for a run pay more attention to what you do with your eyes and see if it makes a difference.

Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner
 and Functional Movement Specialist will help you to boost your capacity to move effortlessly. With a background in special education, yoga, functional movement, and music, Sandra integrates this knowledge with the latest brain research to help you find solutions to your personal needs that are effective and long lasting. If you are interested in more information or would like to make an appointment, call Sandra today at 250 862 8489.

The Feldenkrais Method® created by physicist Moshe Feldenkrais, PhD., combines precisely structured movement sequences with the latest advances in brain research; it will help you recover from specific areas of injury such as the neck and shoulders or to improve fluidity and ease in sports, recreational activities or life. Join the ranks of such notables as actress Whoopi Goldberg, cellist YoYo Ma and the members of the Canadian Men’s Alpine Ski Team in experiencing the benefits of this method.

Tags: feldenkrais, cognitive function, brain stimulation, foot-eye coordination, pole walking


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.