If you have witnessed a baby learn to walk, you know it is a process that takes a full year plus of movement exploration, failure and triumph.
Little ones doggedly push the boundaries of their current function. When you place a baby on her back she is only happy there a short time- eventually she begins to use her hands to maneuver objects, and she explores turning over. If you place a little one on her belly, she starts to lift her chest away from the floor, and eventually pushes onto all fours.
All of these movements are pruning her nervous system for functional upright motion. She is carving out core strength, spinal extension, contralateral control.
By the time a young one takes her first steps, she has been pursuing movement expansion ceaselessly (between feeding and sleeping) for a good 12 months plus.
And yet by the time we are mature adults, we forget all of the work, effort, courage and failure that went into our walking development. We get up in the morning, and walk seemingly effortlessly. We are lulled into a false sense of ease- and even might take our walking for granted.
But make no mistake, walking is a challenging activity that requires our attention and consistent strengthening throughout our lifespan, in order for us to keep doing it successfully.
Those of you with end stage osteoarthritis, those of you with severe balance challenges, those of you with neurologic conditions know how fleeting walking can be.
So how do we preserve this supremely important functional activity across the span of our lifetime?