How To Improve Your Walking Technique
Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise. It’s also gentle on your joints, low impact, and free! Walking for just 30 minutes’ burns between 100 - 200 calories, depending on how fast you walk and whether you are walking up a slope.. Unless you are using a treadmill, walking does not require any investment. Another plus point is that unlike most exercises, walking does not have to be a boring and repetitive activity - you can simply choose a new walking route or get a friend to come along with you. However, as with any exercise, it's important to have the right technique so that you can get the most out of it.
So here are some ways you can improve your walking technique.
Correct Your Gait
Don't make the mistake of leaning forward or backward while walking. Straighten your upper body and make sure that your shoulders are loosely squared. Your feet should align with your hip bones to form a straight line from your hips to the floor. This simple change in your walking technique will reduce the wear and tear on all the joints in your legs. Next, make sure that your feet are straight - they should not point outwards; just because you are comfortable walking in this manner, it does not mean that it is correct, it simply means that you have become accustomed to this Donald-duck gait! This gait will cause excessive and uneven wear on your ankles and knees so correct this bad walking habit before you do anything else. Finally, make sure that you always land on your heel first and then allow the ball of your foot to hit the ground as your toes flex and you should feel your arch lifting and doming. The way you walk says a lot about your personality, so walk confidently and you will feel confident too!
You might not realize how important it is to breathe correctly when walking or doing any other kind of exercise. Although breathing is an unconscious process, you do have conscious control over it. Breathing is important because it provides your entire body with the oxygen it requires to function properly. Breathing incorrectly will decrease the amount of oxygen that your muscles receive which will increase the chance of tissue damage.
While walking, do not breathe in through your mouth even if you are walking briskly and start to pant. Inhale deeply through your nose while relaxing your stomach muscles. Breathe with your diaphragm - you should feel the air fill your entire lungs, right to the lower sections.
Swing Your Arms
You might feel self-conscious and so you try to keep your arms close to your sides while walking. This will affect the way you walk as it affects your balance. When you swing your arms, it helps to keep your body in balance as you move forward - this is the natural motion of your body so don't try to change it by limiting the range of your arms.
Don't keep your elbows straight but instead allow your arms to bend at the elbow so that they form almost a right angle to your body. Your arms should be relaxed and swing freely as you walk. However, don't go overboard and swing your arms too much so that they flail wildly. As you increase your pace, your arms will swing more which is perfectly normal and natural. You will also find that if you swing your arms faster, your speed will increase automatically as your legs will move faster to keep up with your arms.
Walking does not require specialized gear (although this guy did it with a concrete block!) or equipment but you should not try to skimp out either - invest in a good pair of walking shoes as this will protect your feet from injury. The soles of your shoes should have some amount of flexibility and it should be light weight and breathable. Spend a little additional time making sure that your shoes are a good fit.
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