Is it possible to tell what sort of person you are simply by looking at the way you walk? It’s true that humans use body language when communicating, but what can we possibly divulge from types of gait? Well, quite a lot as it happens.

How your gait can reveal your personality

Experts have been researching different types of gait since the 19-century. The way we walk can give us a myriad of clues as to the character of a person. For example, how detail-orientated a person is, how extroverted they are; even a person’s attractiveness. So the way we walk is important and it really does provide information.

If you think it is all a bit of nonsense, you might like to know that psychopaths use types of gait and other nonverbal cues to identify potential victims.

Serial killer Ted Bundy boasted in an interview before his execution that:

“he could tell a victim by the way she walked down the street, the tilt of her head, the manner in which she carried herself, etc . . .”.

So what does a person’s type of gait tell us about them?

16 types of gait and what personality traits they reveal

  1. Deliberate, long strides

Taking long, deliberate strides indicates assertion, particularly in women. Interestingly, long strides in women are also linked to better sex lives. This is because a long stride indicates a flexible pelvis and backbone.

Using expansive arm gestures that are in sync with the legs is associated with dominance.

  1. Subtle, smaller strides

On the other hand, smaller leg strides coupled with subtle arm gestures when walking are linked to a submissive person. If these gestures are out of sync, it indicates a lack of confidence.

  1. Fast walkers

Outgoing behaviour is linked to fast walking. It also suggests a higher level of openness and conscientiousness, extroverted traits, and low neuroticism.

  1. Slow walkers

It is not surprising then to learn that slower walking speed is indicative of a more cautious attitude to life. If you lower your head and walk slowly, it could suggest an introverted nature.

  1. Synchronised walk

Psychopaths will watch types of gait so that they can deduce whether a person is vulnerable or not. A synchronised walk is suggestive of confidence and assertiveness, so they will wait for those with a mismatched walk.

  1. Pronating the feet when you walk

Pronation is the natural side-to-side movement of our feet when we walk. Ballet dancers often have over pronated feet because they are trying to achieve a graceful leg and foot position. However, this is not a natural way to walk, it takes effort. As such, it is suggestive of high self-esteem and narcissistic traits.

  1. Exaggerating your walk

Extroverts tend to have long foot strides coupled with exaggerated swinging arms and a loose hip movement. This person likes to be the centre of attention. Men, in particular, will use this type of gait to indicate their assertiveness.

  1. Walking in a strolling, casual manner

People who are self-assured and confident in their own skin usually walk with an easy, strolling gait with no clear direction. Their apparent lack of urgency shows a high level of self-esteem.

  1. Walking in quick bursts

types of gait

You might think that a person who walks in quick bursts is just in a rush to get somewhere quickly. But research shows that this type of gait is associated with attention to detail. The fast, jerky walking is used to focus their attention.

  1. Dragging your feet

I have a friend who drags her feet and the sound it makes is really irritating. Experts say it implies an anxious worrier; someone who has trouble dealing with problems. Dragging your feet with a bent-over posture is associated with Parkinson’s disease and is known as Parkinson’s gait.

  1. Veering off to the left

Another indicator of anxiety shows up when a person veers off to the left slightly. This could be related to how our left and right brains work. The right side of our brain has to work harder when we are worried about something.

  1. Tiptoeing

Tiptoeing is normal when toddlers begin to walk as they learn to stand, but if it continues in adult life, it is indicative of several ailments, including cerebral palsy and even autism.

  1. Walking with slumped shoulders

This type of gait is linked with anxiety, but more especially, a person who has recently experienced trauma. The hunching over is a sign that they are unconsciously protecting their hearts from further heartache.

  1. Plodding

Plodding along is associated with depression. Walking with a slow, heavy gait and your head down is symbolic of feeling as if you are carrying the world’s burdens on your shoulders. However, experts suggest that walking faster with your head up can actually help ease the symptoms of depression.

  1. Heavy stamping

Do you stamp your feet down when you walk? If so, you could be revealing a short temper and an immature nature. Children often stamp their feet when they are having a tantrum.

  1. Walking softly

These are the people who are relaxed and comfortable with their lives. They are easy-going types who tend to get on with everyone and don’t cause drama.

Final thoughts

Do you think it is possible to tell a person’s character from types of gait? If you believe that you can, will this make you more aware of how you are walking? Why not let me know in the comments box?



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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ruth

    Thanks for your insights.
    I certainly recognized a few people in my life by the way you described their gait.

  2. Martha

    I don’t think our gait “betrays us”. But it can certainly be evidence of a bit of our genetic makeup and life experiences. Good article!

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