Walk Right: Tips on Proper Walking Posture
Proper posture can make all the difference when you’re walking to reduce pain or lose weight. Here are 7 walking posture tips
Source: Best Health magazine, September 2015
Perhaps most importantly, go slow when you’re beginning a new fitness program. Focus on mastering one tip each walk until you can piece them all together.
Inhale through your nose, relax your belly and let your lower lungs fill with air. As you exhale, flatten your belly and force the air out of your lungs through your mouth, as if you’re trying to blow out a candle.
Align your spine
Place one hand on your lower belly and one hand under your collarbone. Lift up gently and lengthen the back of your neck until you feel an upward stretch. Keeping your spine aligned this way is considered to be a more efficient walking posture. This will reduce the amount of wear and tear on your joints and your risk of overuse injury.
Hinge forward slightly from your hips and lead with your belly. Let gravity help move you as you walk. Your upper body will tilt just enough to keep your shoulders above your hips.
Swing your arms
Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and swing them front to back in the direction you’re going, like a pendulum. Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed and don’t clench your hands into fists. The cadence of your arm swing will set the pace of your walk. If you want to increase your pace, swing your arms faster.
Engage your abs
By keeping your abs engaged when you walk, you’ll prevent your pelvis from shifting from side to side and keep you walking in a straighter line (as opposed to a waddle). Think of your pelvis as a bowl of soup: If you tilt it too far forward or back, the soup will spill.
Shorten your stride
Rather than focusing on extending your leg in front of you, focus on extending the leg in back as you lean forward. This reduces strain on your knees, calves and shins. Also, pick up your feet and plant them firmly on the ground rather than taking heel-to-toe steps. This prevents overstriding, which is one of the leading causes of injuries in walkers.