Nothing seems more natural than walking, an activity most of us have done for nearly all our lives. The fact is, there are several techniques you can employ to ensure a better workout and to help avoid injury. Utilizing correct walking techniques may seem forced at first but, with practice, these positions become as natural as walking itself. Remember to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated as you walk.
A person used to wearing high heels often strikes the ground with the ball of her foot, but you should train yourself to begin with the heel, rolling the remainder of the foot on the ground from heel to toe. This position may require slightly shorter steps, which avoids over stretching your muscles or holding your body in an unnatural position.
The slouching posture we assume after sitting at a desk all day or leaning down to play with children is an enemy to the spine. While walking, stretch from the base of your spine. Avoid jutting out your chin or tilting it backward. Hold it naturally with the crown of your head reaching toward the sky. If you are stressed or in a hurry, take care that you do not clench your teeth or jaw as you walk.
Keep your heart rate up and your blood pumping by swinging your arms as you walk. Bend the elbows naturally and swing them toward the core of your body. This action helps work arm and shoulder muscles as you walk.
Achieve a full-body workout by engaging your abdominal muscles as you walk. You do not need crunches to work those abs. Just maintain good posture and contract your stomach muscles. This subtle movement makes you look as if you have lost 10 pounds and also helps support the lower back.
In the effort to work out hard and efficiently, people sometimes forget the power of breathing. Ask any yoga or Pilates teacher–breathing well is the heart of the exercise and can help you relax, think more clearly and have increased stamina. Breathe naturally. You will notice that your breathing gets faster as you push harder, but feeling slightly out of breath means you are at maximum strength-building, calorie-burning pace.