The Healthy Way to Walk
When we learn things at a young age, usually by trial and error or copying the habits of our parents, there’s a tendency to adhere to what works rather than what might be best. As a result you’ll see all kinds of different styles of walking. From a duck-footed gait to stomping to shuffling to walks that seem to resemble a chronic falling forward; there are a lot of ways to get you from here to there that might be effective if not optimal. For many of us, there is a better way, one that will provide your feet with more comfort and less pain in the long run. Here are some tips on the right way to walk.
Keep your chest out and your back straight. Your neck should be in a neutral position to prevent neck pain – don’t let it tilt to one side – and keep your eyes looking ahead of you instead of towards the ground. Your shoulders should be back and down but comfortable and never slumped. If you plan on carrying anything try to go with a backpack that keeps weight evenly across the shoulders to prevent issues.
This is the important one as far as your feet are concerned. Remember to keep your knees and feet facing forward and walk with your heel touching the ground first and then roll towards the balls of your feet and push off with your toes. Walk with a natural stride – your paces should be of equal length. This actually may take some time to master, as old habits die hard, but it is the healthier way to move.
Kicking it Up
If you want walking to be a more effective workout there are some easy changes that can be made. Tighten up your core as you go to strengthen your ab muscles. As you move more briskly try to keep your arms bent at ninety degrees at the elbow in order to maintain a good balance. If you really want to turn it up considering carrying some dumbbells in each hand but keep them light – a little weight will go a long way.
As always, walking will benefit from proper shoes as well as the proper technique outlined above. If you’re having any physical trouble walking or have any other foot-related issues contact Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. at his Toronto Podiatry Clinic for options on how to improve the way you move.