Science has shown that the more you move, the healthier you are. The simple act of walking a few extra steps per day can make all the difference in your long- term health. Here are our top 5 tips for improving the way you walk.
Tip 1: Keep going, champion!
It is not about how fast you walk or about how far you go. What really matters is that you keep adding a few steps to your daily routine. Walking improves your fitness, cardiac health, reduces pain and the risk of cancer and chronic disease. Aside from the physical benefits, walking is also a great remedy for fatigue, depression and anxiety.
Tip 2: Engage your core
Engaging your core when walking has many tangible benefits. By walking with your core tight and your posture upright, you will naturally strengthen your stomach muscles. A solid core that you engage daily will strengthen your whole body and allow you to avoid certain injuries. The biggest difference that people noticed when paying attention to their core when walking was that within a few short weeks their back pain had subsided drastically.
One of the most common reasons for back pain is having a weak core. As you improve your core strength, your body will balance itself out and relieve once weak muscles. If you spend many hours working at a desk, you could also try switching from an office chair to a stability ball. This will help you work on your core strength while you are sitting.
Tip 3: Posture
Take a deep breath in and drop your shoulders. We often carry tension in our shoulder blades and necks without realizing. By focusing on posture and shoulder tension when walking, your body will reap the benefits. Walking tall with your shoulders back allows your lungs to fully expand, making breathing easier and more efficient. This posture improves your circulation and aligns your body. When your body is aligned and moving correctly, it makes it easier for your blood to circulate to all parts of your body.
Tip 4: Find the correct shoes
The wrong shoe can do more harm than good. When doing your daily steps, comfort is key. Ask Cinderella, a shoe really can change everything! The feet and connecting joints make up 25% of your body’s bone structure. Many of the bones in this area are small and fragile and any injury can be extremely painful. It is important to find a pair of shoes that minimize your risk of injury.
The best place to find a pair of shoes is at a local sports store. It is important to find a pair of shoes that has enough ankle and sole support. The best way to find the perfect fit is to ask the sales assistant to measure the dimensions of both of your feet to size your shoe. Many people wear the wrong size shoes for years without even realizing it.
Our pro tip? Get your feet measured at the end of the day because your feet tend to swell when you have been walking. Therefore, you should purchase a pair of shoes that does not feel tight after a day on your feet.
Tip 5: Chin up!
By keeping your head up with your chin parallel to the ground you greatly reduce the strain on your neck and back. A proper chin position will allow you to look further ahead rather than down at your feet. By lifting your head, your gaze will be about 20 feet ahead of you. This way, you will see the path ahead of you clearly and be able to see anything that appears in your line of walking. This minimizes your chance of tripping and sustaining serious injury.
This month we are inspiring you to walk your way to better health. Use these techniques to get the most out of your walking routine. Like always, if you have any questions our AposHealth® clinicians are a great source of information at your next clinic visit.