Set Your Walk Up For Success

In many ways, both physical and spiritual, walking comes pretty close to being the perfect exercise. A walking program can be as simple as just going out for a brisk stroll a few times a week. And as long as you’re consistent about doing it, you’ll not only trim your waistline, but improve your health.

The benefits of walking are seemingly endless. They include:

  • Lose weight or maintain weight by burning calories and raising metabolism
  • Improves your blood cholesterol levels by reducing LDLs and raising HDLs
  • Sparks up your sex life by improving energy and mood
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Manage type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Provides a surge of mood-elevating endorphins
  • Improves your sleep
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Improve your balance and coordination

But before you gear up and go, it’s critical that you have proper walking posture so you can turn your walk into a true workout! Today, I’ll show you ideal walking posture, plus one MUST-TRY exercise to do before you walk!

Essential Walking Techniques

Posture –

Stand tall; imagine a string coming from the top of your head pulling you up. Then tilt your body forward slightly from the ankles, not the hips or waist. Don’t arch your lower back or stick your butt out. Keep your spine in a neutral position by contracting your abdominals.

Head Position –

Don’t tilt your head from side to side, and don’t drop your chin forward. Your eyes should focus straight ahead and not on your feet, so you don’t strain your neck.

Shoulders –

Your shoulders should be down and back; open your chest for easier, deeper breathing. As you walk, check your shoulders regularly. Are you slouching? Are your shoulders creeping up toward your ears?

Arms –

Let your arms swing freely, but with purpose. This improves balance, increases circulation, and burns more calories. Swing your arms forward, not across your body. Imagine your body on a clock face, viewed from the side, with your head at twelve o’clock. Your arms should swing from seven o’clock (just behind your hips) to four o’clock (about belly button height).

Feet –

Strike the ground with your heel and let your foot roll forward naturally. At the end of your stride, really push off with your toes, to propel your body forward. Use a stride length that’s comfortable for you. Don’t overstride.

To modify your technique when walking at greater speeds:

Since your arms and legs work in unison, your legs can’t speed up until your arms do. To get your arms pumping more quickly, start by putting a 90-degree bend in your elbows, holding your hands in a loose fist. Swing for-ward, not side to side, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

Use the same rolling heel–toe motion as at lower speeds, but concentrate on actively pulling up your toes as your legs swing forward. At faster paces, if you don’t pull up your toes, you’ll start catching them on the ground.

Must-Try Move Before Your Walk –
Midback Strengthener with Wall Guide

Targets:  Upper back postural strength and flexibility of the front of the shoulder.

Setup: Stand with your back to a wall, touching heels, buttocks, upper back, and head. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lift them to your sides at shoulder height. Press your elbows and hands against the wall. If you have tight shoulders, you may not be able to touch the wall with your hands, elbows, or both—focus on your effort.

Move: Widen your clavicles, funnel your ribs down toward your waist, and press your navel toward your spine. Keeping your elbows and hands against the wall, if possible, slide your arms overhead. Continuing to maintain pressure and effort, slide back down to shoulder level. Repeat six to eight times.

Focus: Maintain a neutral spine (your low back is not pressing against the wall, but your abdominals are engaged, pulling your navel toward your spine).Comments: The effort in the postural muscles in your upper back will help stretch the front of your shoulders, enabling you to have the flexibility and strength to maintain or improve your posture.

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