Gait and Posture Tips for Walking
By Gretchen Wilson
Experts agree that walking is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to keep your body tuned up. Spending time walking properly will also help improve your balance. Whether you’re walking to get fit or training for a special event, you’ll get more out of your daily jaunt if you keep these gait and posture pointers in mind.
BEGIN WITH GREAT POSTURE:
Good posture is our mantra at Sit and Be Fit. This fundamental practice can’t be stressed enough. Let’s review good posture basics. Stand tall with your back erect, shoulders down, and your head held high, and chin tucked into the neck (pull chin back ¾ do not drop chin to chest). Feel the torso lengthening and lifting off your hips. Tuck your tailbone under and gently tighten the abdomen.
START YOUR WALK WITH A LONG STRIDE:
Stepping forward from the hip and placing your foot at a 45 degree angle to the ground. You’ll feel a tension in the shin – that’s a sure sign that you’re pulling your foot high enough to execute a perfect heel strike.
HERE’S AN EXERCISE TO HELP YOU PRACTICE THE PROPER HEEL-STRIKE:
Start with your legs together. Now take a step forward and place your foot in the heel-strike position ¾ a 45 degree angle. Return to the starting position and repeat with other leg. This exercise will also improve your balance.
NOW LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE BACK FOOT:
As the heel of the front foot strikes the ground, push off from the toes of the back foot into the next step. You get more speed pushing off the toes, not the ball of the foot.
NOW TAKE A STEP AND FREEZE:
Look at your back foot. It should be parallel with the front foot and pushing straight forward from the toes.
Regardless of your age or condition, walking is one activity that will make you healthier, placing only 1/5 of the stress of other forms of exercise, such as running, on your body. Walking also relieves mental stress and anxiety. Pull out those walking shoes and get started. Be sure to keep the gait and posture tips above at the forefront of your walking practice. Enjoy the benefits of daily walking and add something positive to your healthy aging equation.