Here are beginner’s tips from walking experts on how to do it right:
GO IT ALONE
Sure, it’s more fun walking with company. But when you’re a beginning walker, take a couple of walks solo. You can go the speed and distance your body wants to, rather than being under the psychological pressure of doing what the others are doing. You’re more likely to pay attention to your own body signals when you’re walking alone. Then, when you’re used to walking, take friends along.
KEEP YOUR CHIN UP – MENTALLY AND LITERALLY
Walking with your head down can cause stress in the lower back. Try to focus straight ahead while walking.
SLOUCH NO MORE
Watch your basic posture, too. Your shoulders should be down and open, not hunched. Think of opening the chest, and dropping the shoulders so there’s no tension. Then lift the ribs and upper torso off the hips so that the diaphragm and abdominal muscles are free to move.
DON’T OVERSTEP YOUR BOUNDS
Your stride should be a natural one. If you take an exaggerated step, your upper body tends to lean backward. And a huge stride can also lead to groin strain. Keep your body weight forward, not back, and walk with a normal stride, not giraffe-length leaps.
WORK THOSE ARMS
With shoulders relaxed, bend your arms to a right angle and allow them to swing with your stride – left arm with right leg, right arm with left. As to how hard you want to swing them, go for comfort. But don’t pump with a straight arm; your arm can no longer handle the speed. You begin to swing your upper torso, putting a strain on the back.
CHECK YOUR FOOTWORK
As the song goes, just put one foot in front of the other. Walk with your feet straight in front of you; walking pigeon-toed or duck-footed can lead to painful knee problems.
Also, check the way your feet are landing. You should land on your heel and roll off your toe with each stride.
If you find yourself with a sore shin muscle, back off from your training program. Treat your leg to ice, rest and elevation.
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