No matter what your age, walking is a beneficial form of exercise. Walking helps burn calories, strengthens your heart, helps lower your blood sugar, eases joint pain, boosts your energy, and can even improve your mood. It is often an underrated form of exercise with major benefits. However, walking incorrectly can do more damage than good. The way you walk is often referred to as your “gate” and if your alignment or mechanics are off, it can negatively impact your body. Your gate involves your stride, the way your foot moves, your arms, and even your posture. Below you will find more information on how to improve your walking technique.
How to Improve Your Walking Technique
By incorporating the following walking techniques, you can improve your gate and your overall health when walking.
Before you begin walking, it’s helpful to focus on your posture. There are major benefits to walking with good posture as it allows you to engage your core muscles, take full breaths, and use the right muscles to make strides. Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. It’s helpful to imagine a string being pulled up from the top of your head. This will put you in a good position when it comes to your posture. Maintaining this by engaging your core, keeping your chin parallel to the ground, and looking forward helps your walking posture.
Foot Placement and Motion:
When you walk, it should be fairly smooth. This is heavily reliant upon your footwear as it needs to be supportive, flat, and flexible. Focus on taking steps where your heel hits the ground first. Once your heel hits the ground, your foot should roll from heel to toe. Once your toe meets the ground you can push off with your toes. From there you can bring your leg from back to front and continue moving forward. If you experience any issues or pain with your foot placement or motion, a podiatrist can examine your feet, gate, and footwear to determine the issue.
Arm Motion and Placement:
If you are casually walking at work or running errands, you may not need to aggressively engage your arms as you would if you were powerwalking during vigorous exercise. Keeping your arms relaxed by your side, even adding slight movement is fine. However, if you are exercising, it’s helpful to engage your arms. Adding arm motions to your workouts can burn between five and ten percent more calories than without. The best way to accomplish this is by keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle and moving your arms forward and backward as you take each step. Focus on moving your arm forward when your opposite foot moves forward. It is also helpful to refrain from clenching your fists.
Pushing off of your hindfoot is the best way to pick up speed. One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t put too much stress on your leg joints is to take short strides. Overstepping can weaken your stride power and put too much stress on your legs. Focusing on each of the factors that impact your stride can help you burn calories and strengthen your legs.
Podiatrist in Westlake
If you have foot pain or difficulty walking for more than a week, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Issues with your feet can impact your overall gate, alignment, and it can even cause issues with your knees, hips, and back. While the issue may be minor, it’s best to discuss the issue with a podiatric surgeon in Ventura. They can help diagnose and provide treatment options.
The experts at Foot & Ankle Concepts, Inc. are skilled in treating foot and ankle issues. Their team is focused on setting you up with a treatment plan that works for you. They have a number of locations all over California, including Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Camarillo, Palmdale, and Westlake. Contact the best podiatrist in Westlake today for an appointment!