Most people think that walking is the exercise of choice for the lazy. Contrary to this, walking is actually the best form of start-up routine for those who want to become professional runners. It’s something you can do at your own time and pace. No need for any pricey membership, special skill or equipment, except may be for a good pair of shoes!
While walking comes naturally to humans, do you know how to maximize your walking workout to boost your health?
It’s all about the form.
Are you maintaining proper posture when you take each step? Do you have a calm and rhythmic breathing while you walk, or is your breathing labored?
The correct posture you have assumed while sitting on an office posture chair should also reflect on how you stand and walk. If you want to have a healthier habit in each step, here are posture tips that you should consider:
1. Start with your feet.
Your feet should point forward, not towards each other and not opposite from each other. You wouldn’t want to look awkward with a duck or a clown walking style. If, in case, you have already adopted either of these types of walking, you can start correcting your foot position while sitting on a task seat or a comfortable office chair. A properly placed foot provides a more stable base support while you’re taking each step.
Use heel to toe for a slowly paced walk then go for a midfoot strike when you go brisk walking.
For the heel-to-toe technique, you step forward by landing on the heel of your foot, then roll forward onto the ball part of your foot. Push off with your big toe as you raise your heel again.
The midfoot stride, on the other hand, involves landing slightly on your forefoot first, followed by lightly touching your heel down. This translates to a good shock absorption.
Aside from getting comfortable with the foot strikes, you also have to make sure that you pick the best fitting shoes for your walking escapade. Most may overlook how poorly fitted shoes can compromise the form. If your feet are uncomfortable, and you push yourself to go on, you will likely suffer injuries and strains.
2. Walk straight.
No, we’re not talking about literally walking on a straight line. Walking straight means keeping your posture straight – head up, look forward, stand tall, chest out, and abs in. Keep your neck in line with your shoulders.
Avoid over-striding, over-clenching your hands, over-swinging your arms. More importantly, avoid slouching as it affects your breathing and back alignment that would tire you up easily. Remember, you always need a healthy dose of oxygen whatever activity you’re doing. Which brings us to the next step.
3. Breathwalk properly.
When you walk, inhale to a count of two and exhale to a count of four. Breathe in through your nose, then breathe out through your mouth slowly. Take note – slowly. Why? Overexhalation may trigger hyperventilation and elevation of your vital signs. This will then cause respiratory distress.
Breathwalking is a challenging pattern especially for a starter. As mentioned, you can always practice first while on a stationary position, may it be standing or sitting on a chair for back pain. Once you get used to the rhythm, you can do it with your morning walk.
Posture affects how you perform your daily activities – from sleeping to the most strenuous labor. So, you better give it the same attention as how you care for the rest of your body.