As a personal trainer, one of my favorite topics to teach is the proper form and function. People are often shocked that there is far more to walking than just putting one foot in front of the other. Many issues can arise from poor form: plantar fasciitis, knee pain, low back pain and even getting out of breath easily. Some of these problems might be a structural issue (or the lack of regular exercise) but a lot of these problem areas can be alleviated by making a few minor adjustments in your stride.
Check out this short (social distancing) video and review the very basics of How to Walk.
When we were just babies, it was a celebration when our feet hit the floor. Each step we took was wobbly as we learned to balance our weight to aid in propelling us forward. Soon, those few steps became a full-on sprint as we explored at this new pace. Like so many other things, we learned to walk but we were never taught how to walk.
In this video, I share just a few simple tips on how to walk. Focus on 2 main areas:
1) Lower Core: Your glutes should be a driving force in your movement. Be sure to take the pressure off your feet and knees by actively using glute strength when you walk. Often, I see people take a big step and pull using the quadriceps muscles with each step. When this is done repeatedly, it can lead to low back pain, plantar fasciitis, and lots of knee pain. To avoid this, actively engage your glutes and try to focus on them pushing you forward. As I say in the video, get those hips into extension by squeezing your glutes forward.
2) Upper Core: I often say to roll your shoulders back and down. This is referred to as packing your scapula or opening your chest and ribs to sit properly. As I poorly demonstrated in the video, this posture allows your natural swing in your body to occur. This will allow your chest cavity to open up so you can continue getting the right amount of oxygen to power your stride.
Remember to keep your shoulders back and down, nice long neck (watch that forward head), hips tucked in, and nice controlled intentional breathing.
Stay tuned for strength training videos to target specific muscles for walking.
~ Happy Walking
*Note that this is a general video on walking posture. If you have concerns or specific personal requirements, please seek guidance from your medical doctor or physical therapist. Every body does not move the same so listen to your body and what it needs to stay balanced.