Here are a few walking fitness tips to take into consideration when you have put your trainers on and headed out the door. From the moment humans decided to walk on 2 legs, walking for fitness is the easiest form of exercise to do. You can, however, make it one of the most effective!
The thing that sticks in my mind from the years of walking fitness alongside clients, is the direction. You are travelling forwards be it walking, jogging or running and your arms and legs are propelling you in that direction. It makes sense then to use your limbs effectively and economically.
Walking for fitness tips – techniques
Let your arms swing in a relaxed motion forwards and backwards as you move. Your hand points in the direction you are going (forwards) and your elbows point in the direction you are coming from (backwards). Keep the shoulders relaxed and arms slightly bent at the elbows. As your hand passes your side it should be about hip height. Imagine a vertical line going straight through the centre of your body, your arms ideally should not cross this line.
This simple observation and correction will help you move better and aid in other areas such as posture and breathing which I will come to shortly.
look where you’re going. Not as stupid a tip as you think. Firstly, you can see where you are going (der!) and secondly it helps keep your head in a better position. Less looking at your feet and hunching over and more head up shoulders relaxed, upright and chest open.
When walking, a more heel-toe action is recommended. Landing the front foot on the heel and pushing off with the ball of the foot from the back leg.
It is advisable to have the toes pointing forwards in the direction of travel and not pointing in or out. This will help keep the knees in line which in turn help to keep the hips in line. I know it is not an ideal world and every human body is different and moves naturally in different ways. It is just something to be aware of when you’re out and about doing your workouts.
Getting a steady breathing rhythm helps maintain your workout. I personally go with a breathing pattern linked to my steps, breathing in for two steps and out for two steps.
I sometimes breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Other times in and out through the mouth. It depends, and my body tells me the best way to get the oxygen it needs. The same applies to you. A point to note here, breathing shallow and quickly is more likely to induce side stitch. It is better to breathe from your belly and not solely from the chest.
Look forward, head up, arms and legs swing (where ever possible) in a straight line forwards and backwards, keep the shoulders relaxed, don’t slouch, place the foot correctly and in line with the direction you are moving, try not to bounce and get a steady breathing rhythm going on.
Walking for fitness tips – Location
Pick a route that includes green! This depends on where you live but most areas have green. A field, a park, a garden. Soak your eyes in the colour green.
Your walking fitness is harder with inclines included, so look for hills or steps. Get your heart rate up with a few of these included.
Where ever you find yourself, walking fitness is more effective if you walk like you are late for as long as you can.
Simple tips but consider them when you next find yourself putting your trainers on.