Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. But what does your body look like while you walk? Do you slump? There are actually different forms your body can take while strolling. The way you’re feeling can also strongly influence the way you walk.
A recent study in The Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychology found that when participants walked with a long gait, standing tall and swinging their arms, it induced more positive feelings than if they took shorter steps with rounded shoulders and slumped over.
Participants were given physical descriptions of how to walk; they were not told to walk according to an emotion. Prior to walking, they were shown a group of words that were positive or negative. The walkers with upright directives remembered more of the positive words and the slumped walkers remembered more of the negative words.
There seems to be a feedback loop between our minds and our bodies. Not only are our minds speaking to our bodies, but our bodies are speaking back to our minds. Amy Cuddy is the social psychologist who coined the term ‘power posing’ in her popular TED talk. Amy explored the way our body positioning affects how other see and interact with us and how it affects levels of key hormones such as testosterone and cortisol. She theorized, “Do our bodies change our minds?” and found that yes, the way you hold your body does change your hormone levels, which in turn affects your thoughts and emotions. She found that it takes only two minutes of power posing to change these successfully change these hormone levels.