6 Tips to Ensure Proper Walking Form

6 Tips to Ensure Proper Walking Form

You’ve found the perfect walking shoes. You’re wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to move easily. And you’ve queued up your favorite tunes to power you through your walk. You’re ready to crush your miles! But wait, have you thought about what happens when you walk out your door? Actually how to walk? We know, you’ve been doing this walking thing successfully since you were barely a toddler, but did you know there is actually a proper walking form to take into consideration to ensure safe and effective walking? Here’s what to keep in mind when you head out for your walk:

1) Start with your posture. Stand tall, engage your core, and keep your chest lifted. Your shoulders should be relaxed and your arms should have a slight bend at the elbow.

2) Check in with your alignment. To better avoid overuse injury, look at knee alignment with each step you take. Make sure your knee is in line with your ankle rather than rotating in or out. Strive to maintain a neutral spine— avoid either arching your back or rounding your spine. When you maintain a neutral spine and pelvis, you’ll find you have better control and exert less pressure on your spine.

3) Be mindful of how your foot hits the ground. To ensure your foot is greeting the ground properly, don’t take too big of a step, but instead focus on a controlled stride allowing for a slight bend in the forward leg, but never locking your knee. The heel should strike first, propelling the energy forward to create the heel-to-toe soft motion.

4) Propel yourself with your arms. If you’re looking to increase the power and speed of your walk, arm swing is important. Your arms should feel strong, but also relaxed. Aim to keep your arms moving forward rather than allowing them to cross in front of your body uncontrolled, as that requires more energy consumption.

5) Look up! Not just for safety, but looking ahead allows us to embrace our surroundings and is so important for posture. Looking ahead lessens the tension in the neck and shoulders. Since we tend to look down and slump our shoulders all day long, walking provides us the opportunity to look ahead and develop more strength in the neck and shoulders to better avoid the excessive shoulder rotation that comes with sitting or looking at our technology.

6) Make sure to breathe. It may not seem like something that requires much thought, but when walking, you should focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. This will improve your lung capacity and allow for better oxygen delivery and circulation. Not only that, but it also helps engage your core properly. So, make sure you breathe in through the nose, expand the chest—feeling the rib cage expand in a parallel motion—and on the exhale through the mouth, use control and use the visual of breathing downwards through the tailbone.

A proper walking form is all about connecting your mind and body, and it allows for you to make progression toward your goals. You’ll start to feel successful and see improvements in your physical endurance and mental stamina. And, soon enough, you’ll be celebrating the accomplishments you’ve set out to achieve on your journey to better mental and physical health and wellness.

Back to blog