- Before you begin your walk, loosen up your joints by doing ankle, knee and hip rotations.
- Start your walk at a slower pace for 5 minutes to warm up.
- Most people over-stride: keep your stride length smaller to ensure your feet stay under you and not ahead of you. Engage your abdmonials slightly which helps to keep your pelvis level; neither tipped forward or back.
- Elbows should be bent and moving backwards from your sides. If you walk fast, elbows are bent to 90 degrees.
- Arms should move forward and back and not cross your midline. Fingers are flexed lightly.
- “Peel” your foot off the ground as opposed to pushing off as you prepare to take the next step. This reduces stress on your calves and feet (i.e. plantar fasciitis)
- If you want to walk faster, increase your cadence with a faster arm swing, not a longer stride length.
- On hills, lean into the hill from your ankles, shorten your stride length, increase your arm swing speed with arms coming forward to chin level.
What about Stretching????
It is best to stretch our your leg muscles AFTER your walk when the muscles are warm. Try to walk 30 minutes 3x / week to derive the health benefits that walking can offer.
Author: Charlene Pilon, PTA, BPE, PT-ACE