Walk This Way
Dec 20, 2023
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A daily 10K walk draws a lot of attention—and for good reason; taking extra steps can counteract the effects of being sedentary—but there's one more thing you should pay attention to: your body shape.
"If you have good posture, you'll feel better and want to walk more," says Michelle Stanton, a walking instructor, ACE-certified fitness trainer and author of Losing Weight. "It also helps you walk faster."
Improve comfort and speed? It's hard to argue with that. Start going farther and stronger today with these three simple forms of repair.
3 Ways to Walk Perfectly
Stand up straight. One of the things people tend to do when they walk is to look down, Stanton said. Instead, she recommends raising your head, pulling your shoulders back and down, and looking at the horizon or at least 10 to 20 feet in front of you. "Once you do that, you open up your chest and it's easier to breathe," Stanton said.
If you're having trouble keeping your head up because of the sun, Stanton recommends wearing sunglasses or a hat. Keeping your head forward can create tension in your upper back and neck, which not only makes you feel bad, but also shortens your walking time.
Add arm technique. You can't run with your arms crossed, so why do you walk like that? It will slow you down. "When you twitch your arms, your legs naturally want to keep up," Stanton said. But be careful how you swing your arms; the form is also important here.
The first thing you do, Stanton says, is to bend your arm 90 degrees and keep it bent, as if you were in a cast. "The arm is like a pendulum, the shorter pendulum swings faster," she added.
Once you're comfortable keeping your arms flexed -- all the action is coming from your shoulders -- fine-tune your swing. The key is to keep your arms moving back and forth. "Think about pushing your elbows back," Stanton said. "You don't want your arms to swing above your chest, out or through your body."
stride forward. According to Stanton, one of the big mistakes people make when they try to go faster is taking big steps. "When you put your leg in front of you, it's more of a brake," she explained. This is because the farther your front foot is from your pelvis, the more effort you have to pull your body forward toward that foot.
The smaller the pace, the faster. "If your front foot is right in front of you, you're going to crawl over that foot," Stanton said. "It's a lot smoother."