Why Do Fat People Waddle? (and how to walk straight)

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Our own habits are hard to notice. The way we walk is, by definition, habitual, but since we all walk the same, no one pays attention to the average gait. Fat people have a slightly curved gait that sometimes turns into a waddle. Have you noticed this and wondered why fat people don’t walk straight?

Fat people waddle because there is less room between their legs to stand and walk straight. Their joints also have immense pressure, and sometimes their legs aren’t strong enough to carry them from underneath. All of this leads to them keeping their legs apart when walking.

In this post, you’ll discover the reasons for the waddle in great depth. Once we understand why I (and possibly you) waddle we can learn what we can do to reduce it.

We’ll also go over a test you can do at home to know whether waddling is necessary at your specific weight or if you can walk straight with practice alone. Let’s start with the reasons for the waddle.

5 Reasons That Fat People Waddle

1. Decreased Range of Motion

One of the key reasons behind the signature waddle of larger individuals is that they have fat thighs.

Bigger thighs make it impossible for their leg muscles to come as close to each other as they would otherwise.

Because of this, the muscles are positioned at an obtuse angle, going outwards. Try to get a skinny person to spread their legs wide and then move them ahead without waddling. To walk straight, the leg muscles need to be squarely under one’s shoulders.

While fat people’s legs are under them unless they are unhealthily obese, their muscles are slightly off the regular position, leaning outwards. Ironically, this is the actual thigh gap with a serious gap between the thigh muscles.

The “skinny” thigh gap is a fat gap.

This gap between quadriceps decreases the legs’ range of motion. Like stretched legs cannot move straight, a fat person’s legs can’t go at a 180-degree path. There is a curve in the trajectory of the legs.

2. Size of the Body

Fat people seem to waddle more than they actually do. At least initially, there is a very slight curve in the trajectory of their leg movement. However, their size makes the movement difference very obvious.

Kids have abnormal gaits and moving patterns when learning to walk, yet they rarely get noticed. This is usually because of their size.

The opposite applies to fat adults whose size draws attention to even minute differences.

3. Joint Stiffness

fat person stiff joints

In the later stages of weight gain, waddling gets emphasized because of joint stiffness.

The weight put on leg joints makes them almost inflexible. As a result, the slightest resistance from a 180-degree leg movement seems as difficult to overcome as a mountain hike.

The path of least resistance is away from the weight. When the leg moves from the side instead of underneath, there is less weight on it, making it easier to walk.

4. Weaker Muscles

If your weight gain is quicker than your leg muscles’ strength gains, you’ll have to shuffle to avoid holding up the weight of your torso.

Fat people can often waddle because their legs aren’t strong enough to hold them up from underneath. That’s why they have a wide-leg posture for better balance (like a tripod). If a far person works out his legs, he would be able to walk straight.

5. Symmetrical Instability

Finally, there is a stage of weight gain where it is physically impossible to walk without waddling. This stage is where the individual is symmetrically unstable. The center of gravity moves when you gain weight, and if you accumulate enough, your leg cannot carry your weight.

As a result, you need to use the momentum of the sidespin to put your leg forward without putting all your weight on the second leg. This instability is not something that all fat people experience.

To know if you are symmetrically unstable, you should try to stand on one leg. If you can stand on one leg for 7 seconds, you should be able to walk without an obligatory waddle because it takes 7 seconds at maximum to switch steps.

How to Correct a Waddle? (3 Tips)

Now that you know that only people with symmetrical instability have a mandatory waddle, you can start working on correcting your gait if you can stand on one foot for over 7 seconds. But how exactly can you stop waddling?

1. Use a Cane

Start by using a cane for balance and start forcing your legs to move in a straight line from under your shoulders. The cane offsets the lack of balance and allows you to move your legs straight. A regular cane doesn’t work because you need it to carry a portion of your weight. A quad-cane is best for this stage.

Don’t worry, you won’t become cane-dependent.

Once you walk straight for thirty minutes with a cane, you can try walking without a cane for 5 minutes. Gradually increasing this time will allow you to walk straight perpetually without a cane.

2. Work Out With Your Legs

Whether you hire a physical therapist, join a gym, or exercise at home: anything you do to improve your legs’ strength and flexibility will improve your gait.

You won’t get slim by exercising your legs, but your legs will have strength proportionate to your body. It is vital to correct the waddle as a habit. Strong legs will make waddling optional, but you’ll continue waddling if you don’t break the pattern.

3. Get a Trainer

Finally, you can reduce your waddle by going to a physiotherapist or hiring a personal trainer to judge your balance and movement.

He can also correct you when you move away from the 180-degree walking motion.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can get a friend to hold you accountable.

Conclusion: Why Fat People Waddle

Fat people waddle for various reasons that can be consolidated into two meta-causes:

  1. Balance problems
  2. Strength problems

With exercise, they can develop muscle strength to stand straight, and with a cane, they can exercise balance to gradually start walking straight without a cane.