How To Make Your Walking Effortless And Efficient
( Originally Published 1936 )
The most beautiful statue in the world, to my mind, is the winged victoryŚthe Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre.
Certainly it is the most moving of statues, for it fairly seems to be taking off into space. It achieves this impression of action by the perfect position of the bodyŚmuscles and bones are placed perfectly for the posture of action.
To make your own walking effortless and efficient, place yourself in the proper posture of standing described in the article preceding. Your feet should be parallel and your spine balanced on your pelvis, your head balanced on your spine, so that a plumb line dropped from the lobe of your ear should pass through shoulder, hip, knee and ankle.
If you rotate the palms of your hands outward, it will place your chest muscles in the easiest position for quiet breathing. Now put one foot forward and clasp your hands behind your back. This is the position of action, and yet all your muscles should be at rest because your bony skeleton is carrying their weight most efficiently.
"It is not the load that breaks us down," as Dr. Morris M. Brill says, "it is the way we carry it."
DAILY PRACTICE HELPFUL
Just standing in this position for 15 minutes, two or three times a day, will strengthen your muscles so that it will be perfectly natural.
Simply extending this position into a walk, keeping the feet parallel, walking on the outside of the feet and letting the arms hang or swing, will create the most efficient and least fatiguing walking posture.
While I cannot subscribe to all the claims that the enthusiasts about posture make concerning its influence on the production of disease and its influence on the preservation of health, I do believe that good posture will tend to lessen fatigue and make for efficiency. This is particularly true of the sitting posture, which is the position most of us have to assume most of the day.
In sitting efficiently, you should sit well back in the chair so that your legs and thighs carry the burden of the weight. If the slumping posture is maintained and the weight is carried on the base of the spine and the pelvis, the back is rounded out, the muscles are tensed and continuously put under strain. The shoulders should never get behind the hips, and in leaning forward to do desk work, the bend should be made at the hips rather than thrusting the head forward on the neck. Tests in colleges and in offices show that instruction in this position increases efficiency tremendously.
According to Dr. Brill again, a proper sitting position makes it impossible for callers to take up too much of your time. "It discourages insurance agents, old grads and casual visitors. When callers see you dynamically poised for work, they state their business as quickly as possible." If this be true, it, alone, is as strong an argument as we could wish for maintaining a good sitting posture.