How many muscles do you use for walking?
By Paola Bassanese
In a meditation workshop, all participants were asked to really focus on the mechanics of walking and turning their attention on each movement that makes it possible to take a step.
What we take for granted is actually a complex dynamic of synergistic movements. Biomechanically, dozens of muscles engage at the same time to move the body forward.
As far as the thought processes are concerned, we walk “on autopilot” so we use our autonomous nervous system to give the right commands to our muscles.
The muscles we use are the “quads” ie, rectus femoris, vastus medialis and vastus lateralis, sartorius, hamstrings ie, biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus, shin muscles ie, tibialis, peroneus longus, and calves ie, gastrocnemius, and soleus.
Each time you take a step, you need to lift one foot off the floor while balancing your body weight onto your other foot. Your hips tilt sideways while bending your knee and you land on your heel propelling your body forward. You then straighten the forward leg while the back leg prepares to bend.