1. Standing normally with both feet, observe how your body works to calibrate its balance. Try this with your eyes open and closed. What are your muscles, joints and limbs doing? How are your other senses participating?
When standing normally on my feet, I noticed that my main sense of balanced seemed to be in my feet - specifically the outside edge of my feet, not the side that has the arch. I felt very stable, even with my eyes closed. The muscles behind my knees seemed to be tightening slightly once in a while, and my knees needed to be unlocked to get a proper sense of balance and blood flow through my legs. I don’t think my eyes were that essential for keeping my balance, since I didn’t notice much difference between having my eyes open and my eyes closed. I know that the inner ear is very important for balance, but also my sense of touch through my feet was important, I think. Feeling my feet touching the ground gave me a sense that I was standing upright and in no danger of falling over.
2. Try the above exercise standing on one foot.
This time my main sense of balance was mostly in my ankle, I think. I could feel my ankle wobbling a lot to try and keep me upright, while my foot stayed mostly stationary. I also felt considerably more secure with my eyes open this time, since it reaffirmed the fact that I wasn’t falling over, since I no longer felt completely stable. The sense of touch between my foot and the ground was still important though.
3. Walking normally (preferably outside or somewhere where you can walk unimpeded) focus on the activities of your muscles, joints and limbs as you move. What is tensing and when? Do you swing your arms? Rock side to side? Lean forward or back? Land on your heel?
When walking, my heel is the first thing to hit the ground when I take a step, and then my foot sort of rolls down to my toe. I don’t really rock side-to-side or anything, but my hips sway a little bit. I swing my arms slightly, so that my hands maybe move an inch and a half each way from the center of my legs. I can usually feel my calves tightening throughout most of my step except for when my foot is in the air. I also feel some tightening in the back of my knees as I lift my leg to step, but I don’t feel much through my thighs or ankles. The movement of my joins feels smooth and is hard to notice, which is likely a good thing. I have noticed that when I walk up stairs or on a very cold surface, however, I walk with only the ball of my foot touching the ground, which actually feels less tense to my muscles, oddly.
4. Try walking in your normal gait, but slow way down. Again, observe how your muscles and limbs are working.
Slowing down my walk was much the same, but my muscles seemed to have to work harder to walk that slowly. The movement of my joins also seemed a little less smooth. My hands didn’t move as much when I walked slowly though.
5. Try walking backwards (be safe!) and observe the difference in your body's effort.
When walking backwards, I noticed that the first part of my foot to hit the ground is the ball of my foot, and then it rolls back onto my heel. The initial moment of impact puts some strain on the back of my ankle though. It also seemed to pull the muscles in my calves more, and felt strange in the back of my knees. My hands didn’t move at all when I was going backwards, and it didn’t feel like my hips swayed at all either. I also noticed it took much more mental processing to walk backwards than it did normally.