Registered dietitian Melanie Douglass points out the five most common mistakes people make when they are walking for exercise and offers some suggestions for making your walking wonderful.
If you are going to take the time to walk for exercise, make sure you use proper form and technique. This will help prevent or reduce the risk of injuries and aches and pains. When your walk is more comfortable, you’re workouts will be more consistent and you’ll be able to walk longer and faster, covering more ground—and burning more calories—in less time.
Improper Walking Techniques:
These common walking techniques can decrease efficiency and/or lead to pain or discomfort when walking:
1) Head jets forward and chin points up or down
2) Shoulders pulled up toward ears (walking with a shoulder shrug)
3) Arms hang straight at sides and swing front and back
4) Lower back arches
5) Long stride (taking long, big steps – we often try to go faster by taking longer strides, but it’s actually counterproductive)
Good Walking Techniques:
These will help you burn more calories, improve consistency, and increase your speed and endurance.
1) Head neutral so that ears are lined up with shoulders, chin parallel to ground (look down with eyes when walking, not your whole head)
2) Shoulders down and back, relaxed
3) Arms bent to 90 degrees, kept close to body, swing no higher than mid chest, no farther back than the back of the hip, fingers relaxed
4) Abdominals contracted, low back not arched (hips are not tilting forward or backward, they are right in the middle—or neutral)
5) Short quick stride, the feet should stay pretty close to the ground
Have a health question for Melanie? Click here to submit your question http://www.tipadayguide.com/blog and Melanie will answer your question on an upcoming Studio 5 segment!
HEALTHY LIVING TIP OF THE DAY
By Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM
Author: Tip-a-Day Guide to Healthy Living
(Deseret Book, 2007)
© 2007 Melanie Douglass, Deseret Book