Walking is remarkably easy to get wrong, even though we all do it every day. If you’re serious about your health this is something you need to get right but it’s very easy to fall into bad habits. These lead to all sorts of painful consequences for our feet, ankles, knees, hips, backs and shoulders. In short, it can affect your entire body.
A good walking technique will help to avoid or mitigate all kinds of problems and your general health will benefit hugely. Regular walking helps to regulate blood pressure, reduce the occurrence of heart disease and diabetes, keeps joints mobile, strengthens muscles and bones, improves coordination and balance, and gives your mental health a serious boost.
The following tips are a lot to take in at first. Initially, you won’t concentrate on all of them throughout your walk. Follow them for a few minutes a day and gradually increase the time that you do so. Soon they’ll become a habit and your walking technique will improve considerably.
Too many of us are guilty of having bad posture. Slumping our shoulders, sinking into a chair and hunching over a laptop all day is too easy to do. By adjusting your posture when you walk you’ll do yourself a whole lot of good.
Stand straight without arching your back.
Look ahead rather than staring down at the ground.
Let your shoulders relax and ease them back a little.
Suck your tummy in to engage your core and keep your back straight.
Try to keep your toes pointing forward.
By maintaining this position you’ll be well balanced and avoid tension in your shoulders and neck, and you’ll actually get to see the scenery.
Thinking about your arms as you walk and keeping them moving can make your walking more vigorous; it helps to balance the motion of your legs and often encourages you to speed up. You could burn an extra 5% to 10% more calories just by keeping your arms moving in a steady rhythm.
Keep your arms slightly bent and try not to clench your fists, as this can affect your blood pressure.
Swing your arm straight forward as you step forward with the opposite leg – right arm with left leg and vice versa.
Don’t raise your heads too high as they swing forward and try to keep the arm motion relaxed.
Your hips will move a little but should never twist to the side.
Each of us has a unique walking style. Don’t try to take steps that are shorter or longer than you find comfortable. You’ll strain muscles and put unnecessary stress on your spine. If you’re looking to speed up and burn more calories concentrate on increasing the number of steps you take per minute but don’t forget to add to them gradually to avoid injury.
As you walk your heel should touch the ground first and then your foot rolls down from the heel to the toes. Then push off with the toes and repeat.
Expert Guidance with Essex Podiatry
Why not check your posture and walking technique with a biomechanical assessment. This analyses the movement of joints, bones and muscles to help you take full advantage of the easiest exercise around. Your entire body will thank you!