Walking Really Is Just Falling and Catching Yourself

The flailing of a gymnast who’s missed a step on the balance beam might not be far off from what the rest of us experience every day. Each step we take is really a tiny fall, a mathematical model suggests. The random-looking variation in our footfalls is actually a series of corrections. Our strides are all screw-ups—but thanks to the fixes that happen without us knowing, our walking routines look like a perfect ten.

Manoj Srinivasan, who runs the Movement Lab at Ohio State University, an

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