How to Walk
That's a strange title, why does anyone need to learn how to walk?
Because we have learned lots of bad habits over the years, and, we are doing our bodies harm.
The more we walk 'badly' the more damage we will do.
One of the main problems is Posture...Relax
Stand tall, as though you are suspended by a hook on the top of your head.
Keep your chin parallel with the ground
Look about twenty feet ahead
relax your shoulders and let your arms dangle
pull your belly in and up slightly.
Bad posture will harm your back, hips and knees.
To adopt correct posture you need to...
It may take a bit of practise but adjusting your posture will give many benefits
Now take a step;
Land the heel first
Roll on to the ball of your foot
Push off with your toes
Try to imagine your foot is like a wheel, it rolls through the step, rather than slaps.
At first you may get some pain from the muscles in your shins, this shows you're doing it right.
Don't take long strides.
Shorter steps are more efficient, and transfer less shock through the knees, and hips.
Also, all the power comes from the rear foot pushing off, the front foot is only there as a pivot.
It might take a bit of time to learn this technique but its really worth the effort, the shorter steps might make you a
little slower at first but you will soon pick up speed.
How you use your arms is also importantRelax your hands, don't make fists.
Bend your arms to around ninety degrees.
Keep your elbows in tight to your body
Don't let your hands cross the center of your belly
Using your arms will help with power, and can add 10% to amount of calories you burn during a walk.
But, you need to use them in the right way
As you step forward with your left foot, swing your right arm forward, but no higher than your chest.
Then, as your right foot comes forward, your left arm should be in time with it.
If you watch soldiers march, you'll notice they use good posture and opposite hand and foot movement,
because it helps to maintain momentum.
Remember, armies used to march for whole days at a time, so their techniques are pretty well honed
Walk at an easy pace at first, you can increase it later.
It's more important to get the technique right in the early stages.
Good breathing is also very important and will help to make your walk more enjoyable.
Surprisingly efficient breathing isn't a 'chest thing'. Proper breathing starts from your abdominal area.
When you take a breath...
Start by expanding your stomach, this makes your diaphram expand sucking air deep down into your lungs which
will help your oxygen take-up. Then lift your chest to finish filling.
This takes a bit of practise but the benefits are worth it.
Keep a good steady rhythm going and concentrate on exhaling as well as inhaling.
This gets important as your breathing speeds up because your muscles are producing increased rates of carbon dioxide CO2.
When you get out of breath its not because you need to breathe in more oxygen
Its because you need to breathe out Carbon Dioxide
Our breathing is triggered by the level of carbon dioxide in our blood.
This carbon dioxide is a by-product of our metabolism and is disposed of by breathing it away when we exhale,
as our metabolism increases, so, the levels of CO2 increase, making us want to breathe more urgently.
You'll find that, when you get out of breath, if you concentrate on forcefully exhaling, your breathing will recover quicker.Start off at a leisurely pace, after say 5 minutes pick up the pace a bit.
s with any workout ;its important to warm up properly...
By the time you hit the 10 minute mark you should be at your 'workout pace'.
Maintain this pace until the last 5 minutes of your walk
Slow down to your 'cool down' pace (the same as your warm up)
A good workout pace would be between 110 and 120 paces per minute.
the 'experts' say that you should walk at this pace, for forty minutes, three times a week.
A good indicator of whether you are going fast enought is;
If you can sing, you aint going fast enough.
At the same time though dont go so fast that you are gasping for breath.
After a while, as you get used to your routine, you can include some interval training into your walking.
This is where you alternate your pace with bursts of speed for two minutes every five minutes.
if you can incorporate this into your walk it will increase your fitness quicker, and make your walk more of a challenge.
Hills are also a good thing to include in your route;
They provide a good boost to your heart rate, and will intensify the effort requred from your thighs and butt.
You need to slightly change your walking technique when you climb hills;
Shorten your stride
watch how high you lift your knees; if you are lifting your knees more than six inches you need to shorten your stride more
Dont lean to far; try to stay upright.
Keep your torso directly above your pelvis. This will help keep you 'on balance'
Once you get in the habit, you'll find walking is one of the most pleasant ways to pass an hour or so and it will cease to be 'exercise'
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