Good Walking Technique
The foundation of a good walking stride is posture and stride length. The spine should be elongated, straight, upright, and relaxed. Itís not a rigid pose, it is natural and balanced. You should be able to draw a straight line from your ear down to your shoulder, to your hip, knee and ankle. If youíre swaying too much forward and backward while walking, try to keep your pelvis forward.
Remember to keep your shoulders back and donít hunch forward which will interfere with good breathing. Most importantly, relax. Your walk will be more enjoyable and your body will move more naturally. Muscle tension and cramping are a silent problem for many and can cause injury if left untreated. If you know youíre overstressed and tense, you should consider getting a massage or use a hot tub to relax your muscles. There are relaxation techniques that you can use to loosen up as well.
Walking stride should be heel to toe movement and your toes should be up not shoveled straight ahead. Avoid using long strides to increase your speed. Long strides will put unnatural pressure on, ankles, toes, knees and hips and could result in joint problems. Instead, use a faster stride. Get over the fear of looking strange because youíre walking fast. Your fitness is far more important. Aim for 115 to 135 strides per minute.
Remember that your leg starts at the hip and this is where your stride begins. Allow your pelvis to rotate naturally with each stride but avoid an excessive roll which could signify that youíre striding too long. A normal, short stride will prevent excessive rotation of the hips.
Upper Body Movement
You may notice a lot of people tend to raise their chin as they walk. This may be a response to allow the pelvis and hips to move forward into a more comfortable position. Often though it is a habit developed through fatigue. If youíre too tired to walk properly in a natural vertical position with your chin level, then you may need to rest and walk later. Try to relax and keep your upper body straight up and balanced. If your balance is off, then you may be leaning one way or the other as a habit. Many people do walk as if theyíre ready to fall over. They need to relax and get back into a vertical position.
Your arms should bend at the elbow and move in unison with the leg of the opposite side. Yes, thatís an ordinary motion, however many people donít let their arms swing naturally. Powerwalking, a more energetic form of walking may use more exaggerated movements of the arms to promote mobility and calorie burning, but a normal walk should coincide with a normal stride. Relax your arms too. This isnít the military. You need to let the arm swing like a pendulum from the shoulder. Hold your hands as though you had an egg in them. Watch that youíre not grippingclenching your hands. Any area of tension may show that youíre trying too hard or going too fast. Your whole body should be in unison. If the hands are constantly clenching, it could be youíre too tired or your not trying to enjoy your walk. Use positive visualization.
Clear your mind and enjoy the moment while you walk. If you need to count the steps and calculate your distance and average speed, strap on one of Bodytronics excellent walking pedometers and forget about it.