3 ways to improve your walking technique
There's nothing like a good walk to clear the mind and get you moving. In terms of exercise, walking is one of the simplest and easiest ways to start you on your journey to better health. Not only is is a great form of physical activity, but you can also reap the benefits of engaging with your local environment and getting social with friends. So as we head into the summer months, grab your trainers and get moving with this popular form of low-intensity exercise.
Benefits of walking
Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise and more. Here are just a few of the benefits of including a walk in your daily routine:
- Helps you to maintain a healthy weight
- Improves your sleep quality
- Reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease
- Improves your mental wellbeing
- Strengthens your bones and balance
- Helps protect from over 20 chronic illnesses
To find out more about how you can help yourself get fitter, healthier and happier by going for a walk, have a read of our article on the benefits of walking.
Walk this way
It's true that everybody can walk but many of us form bad walking habits such as slouching, dragging your feet and swinging your body, all of which can lead to back pain, discomfort and injury.
By focusing on your walking technique and posture, you'll feel and see the difference within seconds.
Here are three ways you can improve your walking technique:
Be aware of your posture
To make the most of your walk, be mindful of your posture and make sure your head is up and looking forward. Imagine a piece of string is pulling the back of your hair up. Keep your back straight by slightly tightening your stomach muscles (again, imagine you're wearing a really tight pair of trousers). Pull your shoulders back but keep your neck, shoulders and back relaxed. Swing your arms naturally with a slight bend. Your hips should shift slightly when you walk, but never fully rotate to the side.
Remember "heel to toe"
It may seem simple, but a majority of people forget to practice this proper stepping method. Step onto your heel, roll onto the ball of your foot and lift your heel off the ground with your big toe. This will prevent injury to your foot and ankle, and help with balance and stability.
Focus on breathing
Start simply by taking a large deep breath in before you start your walk, aiming to fill the very bottom of both lungs. Once you feel comfortable then concentrate on the breath out and aim to breathe out for up to 8-10 seconds. This will not only supply oxygen around the entire body but it will also help you feel more relaxed and mindful of your surroundings.
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