Walking has so many benefits from increasing your heart rate to lowering your stress levels. It might seem like an intuitive thing to do without any thought, but there are good techniques when it comes to walking. Our focus here is how to utilize the many benefits of walking for health but without the negative implications of pain associated with it if done too long or too much.
As we age many people turn to healthy walks as a form of their main exercise. The biggest question here is what can be affected if done incorrectly or if you have a pre-existing issue.
Bad Posture During Walking Can Harm
Let’s explore the tips below on how we can walk long distances or even walk a lot without hurting the body in the process.
What Is Correct Walking Posture?
Our last article was about good posture while sitting as we seem to be doing much more of that nowadays. Here are some tips to keep correct posture while walking and to prevent pain.
- Make sure you are standing straight with no leaning to the front or back. It is better to walk slow straight than fast with a bend in either direction.
- Your feet should be at shoulder distance, too wide can hurt the hips, and too narrow can affect balance.
- Toes pointed forward and not inwards or outward. If you typically have this problem then a mindful walk where your focus is on fixing this can do wonders.
- A straight back is good but an arched one can cause problems in the lower back region.
- Engage your core by sucking in your gut a little. This will cause your abs and back to work and strengthen at the same time. Another benefit is the good posture that comes from this as well.
- A walk is great for releasing tension which many times is in your shoulders. Relax your shoulders and breath.
The stride of your walk matters
Typically you would like long fast strides are the key to getting that heart rate up and making walking useful. Not the case though if you are walking for exercise consider shortening your stride. What it does is lessen the stress on your hips, joints, and knees. A quick walk into a store or even just a typical distance does not matter, but for exercise let the bodywork with support. So, on that next walk just be conscious of your walking stride and see if you can tell a difference.
Your Arms Get a Workout Too
Walking uses a lot of muscles but your arms are normally not affected too much. You can include some very, very small weights to walk with like two water bottles. The key here is to include them by holding them at 90-degrees and swing them with your stride. This will activate them and help get that blood flowing.
Shoes Can Make All The Difference
This article is focused on using walking as exercise and not having pain as the result. Your shoes play a major factor in this. Find a shoe that has the right padding, support, and most of all fit will make a huge difference. Before you take them on a long walk maybe wear them around the house for a day to break them in. From there consider going on a long walk and seeing the outcome if they are perfect then you have your new pair of walking shoes.
Our goal here is to make sure you can manage any chronic pain you may have and also prevent any future pain is possible. If you have any questions on walking for health and preventing pain please feel free to contact us today or even give us a direct call at any of our three locations (LaGrange, Newnan).