Whether you’re a leg bouncer or someone who gets intensely irritated by it, it’s a habit that affects most people at some point. Also known as leg shaking, jiggling or that annoying thing you do with your leg, it’s usually linked to anxiety. Basically, when you feel anxious or fearful, your body sends signals to your feet and legs that it needs to run away or get ready to freak out.
The bouncing gait is sometimes the result of neurological conditions like stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). In some cases, these disorders sever the connection between your foot and calf muscles, making it harder to lift the heel up for each step.
But a bouncing gait can also be caused by tight calf muscles and Achilles tendon, which make it physically difficult to land on the heel with each stride. To fix this, start by stretching the calf muscles a few times a day, then practice landing on your heel with each step.
The key to walking lightly is to distribute your weight evenly across both feet. Stand up tall, distribute your weight across the entire ball of the back foot and try not to reach out with your front leg. It’s not only bad for your posture, but it can also cause backaches and increase the impact on your joints. For more tips on walking more smoothly, read this article from Harvard Medical School.