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Walk this way to be happy

London - Almost every aspect of your behaviour, including the way you walk, can have an impact on the way you feel.

If you want to cheer yourself up in an instant, try changing something that you would rarely even notice, such as the way you move across a room.

Naomi Campbell is a definite 'strider'. Here she is on the catwalk at the Spring/Summer 2013 collections during New York Fashion Week. Credit: REUTERS

Research shows there are only six basic walking styles.

Striders, for example, take long steps, walk with a bounce and let their arms swing back and forth.

In contrast, shufflers take small steps and have drooping shoulders.

It was also found people associated each of the styles with different emotions, with “striders” perceived as happy and “shufflers” as sad.

While pretending to be conducting a study on the effect of physical activity on heart rate, psychologist Sara Snodgrass asked people to take a three-minute walk in one of two ways. Snodgrass, of Florida Atlantic University, wanted to discover whether changing the way people walked would influence how they felt.

Half of the participants were asked to take long strides, swing their arms, and hold their heads high.

The rest took short strides, shuffled, and watched their feet.

After enacting this real-life version of Monty Python’s Ministry Of Silly Walks, everyone rated how happy they felt.

Those who took long strides felt happier than those who shuffled.

So keep your head up, roll your shoulders back and walk tall - you’ll soon have a genuine spring in your step. – Daily Mail

THE SIX BASIC WALKING STYLES

The Stride: Long steps with a bounce, arms swinging.

Message: self-confident, independent, successful.

The Shuffle: Small steps: pigeon-toed, drooping shoulders.

Message: meek and disorganised.

The Duckwalk: Toes point out and body swings from side to side.

Message: impulsive, independent, charming.

The Chopped-up Walk: Short, heavy steps.

Message: unfriendly and frustrated.

The Mince: Short, prim steps.

Message: submissive, not self-assured.

The Swagger: Shoulders back and hips swaying.

Message: not self-confident, unsympathetic

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