How to walkWednesday 30 May 2012
Unless you’ve got a specific disability you probably do some walking already, but here’s a few tips that will help - and may surprise you;
- Feet and legs. Try to develop a pattern of landing with your heel, then the whole foot taking the weight, with your foot rocking up to push off with your toes - watch for landing ‘flatfooted’. It can help to keep your stride just a bit shorter than you may think - ‘overstriding’ might seem more efficient for covering the ground, but actually it isn’t.
- Arms. Swing your arms front-to-back as much as possible, not sideways. Your arms will probably feel most comfortable bent about 90 degrees. Keep your hands relaxed, perhaps forming a loose fist - walking with your hands held in a tight fist just uses up energy and holds tension.
- Head. Watch it doesn’t drop forward, keep looking out ahead of you and not just where your feet are about to land. Also, be careful of ‘leading with your head’ where your head is pushed out in front of your body. Try doing this and then pulling your head back so it’s centred over your shoulders - you’ll feel the muscles up the back of your neck relax. Remember that relaxed feeling and check for this occasionally as you walk, especially at times when you’re getting tired.
- Trunk, or torso. As you walk your waist will need to twist a bit, but try to keep the bulk of your body fairly straight up-and-down - don’t tip forward at the waist. This hunched posture, which leaves you feeling like you’d fall on your face if you weren’t moving, can also come from walking with your head pushed out ahead of you.
- Shoulders. Same theme here as hands and head - don’t tense up. Again, if you’re getting tired or you’re pushing your pace watch for tension creeping in and for your shoulders tensing and lifting. Drop those shoulders and let their looseness set an example for your arms and hands.