Walking is a fantastic exercise to incorporate into our lives. It’s been shown to have many benefits to our social, physical, and mental well being. Have you ever wondered, though, if you’re walking the right way?
YES, the right way. If you don’t know already, the key to walking well over time is to walk in a specific way. In other words, this means having a good body posture. Until you’ve read this post, you may not have realized you’ve been walking differently up until today.
Before we go any further, though, let’s address what a good position or walking stance is.
What is a good walking posture?
Even though walking is natural to us, to honestly do it effectively involves putting more than one front in front of each other. The secret to walking well is all in the technique, which helps you become fitter and more in shape, in the long term.
In general, it’s recommended to have the following form:
When walking stand upright
Often, you won’t notice you doing it yourself, but you may have witnessed many walkers with their shoulders hunched over their body when walking.
In other words, you could be leaning forward when walking, which makes it difficult for your diaphragm to move fully; therefore, it constricts your breathing. This is bad, as you want to be able to give your lungs some room to move.
Sometimes you may be leaning to much back, which can also strain your breathing. Alongside this, you could get a severe backache. Which, over time, could lead to more severe problems and stop you from walking regularly.
We know it’s hard to tell if you’re doing this while walking; however, Harvard suggests placing your thumbs on the bottom of your ribs and your fingertips on your hips. Then when you stand tall, you’ll soon realize how much the distance between increases.
Don’t tense your shoulders
It’s important to make sure your shoulders are relaxed while walking. Otherwise, if you don’t, you will generate a lot of tension in your upper body.
The best way to make sure you’re not tensing your shoulders while walking is to roll your shoulders upwards, back, and down. This technique will allow your shoulders to resort to a natural position and allow your arms to swing more freely.
Keep your eyes up
Obviously, when you’re walking, you’ll need to keep your eyes up so you can see where you are going. Likewise, you will need to see if there’s passing traffic, people, objects, or anything else, so you don’t get hit or fall over. It’s also essential you don’t look down at the floor when you’re walking, as, over time, it pulls your head down.
Now, imagine how heavy your head is, once your head is down, it pulls your posture forward.
This can contribute to a significant amount of stress on your neck and upper back. A could point of reference is to stare about 20 feet in front of you while walking. As a result, you will be able to see what’s in your direction and reduce the risk of tension occurring.
Keep your chin up
This is very similar to the purpose of keeping your eyes up. If you keep your chin down when walking, you will increase the chances of upper body tension. Ideally, make sure you keep your chin parallel to the ground and look forward.
Take light steps
Let’s face it when walking; no one likes to hear a heavy footer. We mean by this not to carry out your walks flat-footed, hearing a heavy thudding sound on the ground. Most of the time, when this occurs, you aren’t doing a proper stride and can be harmful.
In particular, this places more pressure on your joints and makes you slower at walking. To know you’re doing this well is by taking a gigantic gentle stride and one that does not make much of a noise.
Another good way to make gentle strides is by having flexible footwear. Initially, when implying this form, your shin muscles may become sore. However, over time your muscles will become accustomed to this as the technique becomes natural to you.
Swing your arms and shoulders
When you are walking, don’t have your hands in your pockets, have them out by your side. Allow them to swing in full motion alongside your shoulders. This will allow you to gain momentum while you walk.
The best way to swing your arms according to Very Well Fit is first to bend your elbows 90 degrees. Then slightly close your hands but do not clench them tight. If you find yourself clenching your fists while walking could lead to a rise in blood pressure.
When you take each step, you need to make sure that each arm comes forward and not across your body. Make sure when you’re moving your arms, they don’t go higher than your chest height. If, after some time, it becomes too tiring, let your arms swing naturally.
Suck your stomach in
When walking, you won’t want to be walking with your belly pushed out. If you pull your stomach in slightly when breathing deeply, your core muscles will help your body. In particular, if you implement this technique into your walks, you will prevent yourself from leaning or slumping, reducing tension.
Keep your bum tucked in
It’s good practice to make sure your bum is tucked in when walking and is in line with your spine. Doing this will prevent the arching of your back when walking, which can reduce tension on your joints and further backache. When walking, gently clench your glutes to your back as this will give you an extra push while walking.
When walking, you mustn’t overstride. If you walk to big, it will slow you down and tire you out quicker. Therefore, when stepping forward, make sure your front foot takes a relatively short step, and it’s closer to your body.
Keep your back foot off the ground and give it a good push with the ball of your foot and toes bringing it forward. Then repeat this movement.
Make sure your shoes are well fitted
Believe it or not, your posture can be affected by your footwear. You must wear walking shoes or boots that fit comfortably and have the right support. Specifically, if you’re walking long distances, you’ll want to look at shoes that support your heels and arches.
Likewise, your footwear must have some shock-absorbing factor, for more information regarding walking footwear, check out how to find the best shoes and boots for walking.
Benefits of a good walking posture
Now you know what makes a good posture and how to achieve it, here are the benefits of doing it:
1. Can help tone your muscles and support your bone structure
When you walk in the correct form, you will have less tension in unwanted areas such as specific muscles and joints. This allows them to move effectively without any pressure. It also allows each area to be given a good workout, which in time can strengthen your muscles providing more definition to your body.
In particular, you may find your hamstrings, calves, glutes, and quadriceps more defined. Likewise, this also helps increase bone density and helps maintain healthy joints and prevent conditions like arthritis and back pain.
2. Prevent or reduce pain on your joints
If you don’t utilize your body correctly, you will find your joints don’t get the mobility they should do. However, when you walk and walk in the right form, it allows your joint fluid to move to line your cartilage.
This way, it lubricates your joints and prevents you from having any, or you may have some reduced pain when waking up in the mornings.
3. Gives you a whole body workout
If you walk with the right technique, you’ll soon find that your whole body has been given a workout. As you will be focusing on sucking your core muscles in and tucking your glutes in, you will be kept straight and movie your arms and legs. Therefore you will be targeting many body areas in one go.
4. Better balance and stability
When you’re walking in a good posture, you most likely will have a better balance and a greater sense of stability. This is because your body will be center line, and your weight will be evenly distributed between each leg.
5. Become a faster walker
At first, it may take some time to adjust to your new style of walking. Especially if you didn’t realize you were not applying the correct technique. Then, once you gain experience using all of these tips and have a good form, you will find over time you will become faster.
This is because the movements you’re doing will allow you to gain more momentum, and you will be filled with more energy and oxygen to walk at a quicker pace.
6. Potentially become taller
Have you always struggled with height? When you walk with a good posture, it elongates your spine, putting it into line. This saves you from any back injuries, tension, and it increases your height.
7. Facilities breathing
When you’re exercising, you want to be able to inhale as much oxygen as possible. Therefore you will also want as much oxygen to get into your bloodstream to your muscles to get more energy.
When you’re walking with a good posture, you are upright, and your lungs or diaphragm is not compromised. This means when you inhale, your diaphragm can move high up without being restricted.
8. Maximizes energy
If you are walking right, as mentioned above, your diaphragm will be moving up and down entirely. As a result, you will be taking more oxygen into your body, and you will recuperate more energy. Therefore you will feel less fatigued from exercise.
There you have it, eight benefits of a good posture while walking. Before you can reap the benefits of a good walking posture, we recommend trying those techniques first or going to a walking specialist to get your walking position looked at.