What is the path? How was it born and what are its characteristics?


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There are those who set out to challenge themselves, those who do it to explore the territory, those who do it for sport, or simply to free their minds and download psychophysical stress.

18/03/2022 | 08:45

There are those who set out to challenge themselves, those who do it to explore the territory, those who do it for sport, or simply to free their minds and download psychophysical stress.

The fact is, that especially in recent years, Italians are becoming a people of walkers. This is also thanks to the beauty and conformation of our territory which offers a great variety of routes that touch different municipalities throughout the boot.

But what is the path? Where does the need to move come from and what are its characteristics?

Origins of the path

Since ancient times, man has moved from one territory to another, taking advantage of his motor skills. Suffice it to say that since the Stone Age, our ancestors moved in groups to get food, water and better shelters.

History, magistra vitae, tells us in detail, the evolution of simple movements, which with the passing of the centuries have taken on different forms and rites. There are those who have made a modus operandi in their life on the continuous journey, just think of the communities of nomads or the caravans of Central America.

The journey also took on sacred garments, assuming the grammatical form of "pilgrimage" understood as the journey of the faithful to one or more sacred places on foot, thus effectively manifesting their faith through physical effort.

Today, the journey has maintained and assumed different forms, which go to satisfy diversified areas, including: pleasure, well-being, a sense of freedom, faith, the instinct aroused by the desire to explore and learn about new places, etc.

Gait analysis from an anatomical and psychomotor point of view

Any physical or motor activity that is, requires a good state of health and the absence of physical problems.

But what happens to our body when we walk?

To understand the complexity of the events that occur between one step and another, several aspects must be considered.

There are three basic approaches:

1. Divide the cycle of the step according to the variations of the mutual contact of the two feet with the ground;

2. Measure time and stride length;

3. Investigate the functional significance of the stages of the journey.

The variations of the mutual contact of the two feet with the ground: while walking, one leg serves as support while the other advances to a new support site, then the legs switch roles and the leg that was stable becomes mobile, while the leg mobile becomes stable.

A single sequence for a limb is called a gait cycle ( gait cycle ). The moment of contact with the ground is easily observable, therefore, this event was chosen as the beginning of the gait cycle. Normally people begin contact with the ground by placing the heel ( heel strike ) but not everyone has this ability.

Each cycle of the step is divided into two periods; the stance phase and the swing phase . Each cycle begins and ends with both feet in contact with the ground, while in the middle of the cycle only one foot touches the ground and the other is always on the ground. We can, therefore, divide the step cycle into three intervals.

Measure the time and length of the stride: roughly we can say that the support phase occupies 60% of the gait cycle, while 40% is constituted by the oscillation phase.

The times for the loading phase are divided into:

·10% for the double initial support;

· 40% for single leg support;

· 10% for the double final support.

It should be noted that the support on one leg corresponds to the oscillation of the other and occurs twice in the same period.

The basic functions: walking on uneven ground, climbing, descending, changing direction, running, dancing, playing a sport, are all activities that need a certain commitment, but although we are different, the requests all have in common a functional model basic which is to progress forward on flat ground.

During the walk, the body is functionally divided into two units. The first is the passenger, the second the locomotive, although in both there are muscular movements and actions, the intensity of work and involvement in the journey are different. The passenger, which is made up of the trunk, head and arms, minimizes his involvement in function by becoming, in fact, a passenger, virtually responsible only for his alignment on the locomotor system.

Characteristics of the path: apart from the definition used largely to define them, the paths are almost all different from each other.

In fact, they vary for the following reasons:

· Structural conformation of the territory

· Length

· Climatic conditions of the place where they are located

· Slope

· Experience required

· Way of walking

It is well known that each path will have its characteristics and its levels of difficulty but with the right attitude and the right commitment, no path will be impossible to tackle.

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