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Walking for Fitness (cont.)

Technique Counts

As you walk, consider adding four important techniques to improve the benefit of walking:

  • Stand tall. Posture matters, so, keep your shoulders back and tuck in your abs to avoid arching your lower back. Focus on looking forward to about 12-20 feet in front of you.
  • Take quicker, not longer, steps. Your stride will lengthen as you speed up, but don't force yourself to take longer steps. Taking unnaturally long strides can hurt your low back.
  • Relax your shoulders and bend your elbows. Bring your arms up to a 90-degree angle, but no more. Straight arms can lead to swelling or numbness of the fingers. Swing your arms naturally with each step, and should be bent at the elbow at a 90? angle. Your elbows should be close to the torso, with the hands going no higher than the center of the chest on the forward swing, or past the back of the hip on the back swing. Faster arms will make faster feet.
  • Try using the abdominal muscles and hip flexors to rotate the hip forward. As the leg swings forward and straightens, the body will land on the heel. The ankle should be flexed with toes pointed upward at about a 45 degrees. angle from the ground. The foot placement should be in front of the body, as if almost walking along a straight line. As the body’s weight passes over the leading leg, the foot should roll forward and push off from the toes to begin the next step. A strong push will give you more momentum and power. You should feel as if you're showing the sole of your shoe to someone behind you.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/12/2015

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