Walking is so natural to us that we take it for granted. We develop a walking style when we are children and we stick with it for our entire lives.
In recent years, Orthopedists have become so concerned with the number of musculoskeletal problems caused by poor walking posture that they are re-educating people on how to walk properly.
You know if you have a poor walking posture if you develop pain in your lower back during or after a long stroll. Walking properly has more health benefits than you would imagine.
Because walking is a repetitive motion, it puts a lot of stress in the same key areas of your body—not just your legs and feet, but your lower back and shoulders as well.
By maintaining correct posture while walking, you can help minimise the risk of musculoskeletal imbalances, discomfort, and injuries. It promotes efficient movement, reduces strain on your body, and contributes to better overall physical well-being.
Here are the key benefits of learning to walk properly.
Walking with good posture helps maintain proper alignment of the body. It ensures that your bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments are in their optimal positions, reducing unnecessary stress on various body parts.
Muscle Balance and Efficiency
Correct posture during walking helps distribute the workload evenly among the muscles involved in the movement. It promotes balanced muscle engagement and prevents excessive strain on certain muscles, which can lead to fatigue, discomfort, or injury. Efficient muscle usage during walking allows for smoother and more energy-efficient movement.
Walking with proper posture helps maintain the natural alignment of your joints, including the knees, hips, and spine. It reduces the risk of abnormal forces or wear and tear on these joints, which can contribute to joint pain, arthritis, and other joint-related issues.
Walking with an upright posture helps keep the spine in its natural curves, which promotes spinal health and reduces the risk of back pain or spinal misalignments.
Breathing and Circulation
Good posture allows for unrestricted breathing and proper lung function. It enables you to take deep, diaphragmatic breaths, supplying your body with sufficient oxygen during physical activity. Additionally, proper posture facilitates better blood circulation, ensuring that your muscles receive adequate oxygen and nutrients.
Confidence and Appearance
Walking with good posture gives off a confident and assertive impression. It can improve your overall appearance and body language, making you feel more self-assured and positively influencing how others perceive you.
How To Walk Properly
Walking properly requires several techniques that can help to reduce the risk of discomfort or injury.
Tip 1: Posture
Maintain an upright posture while walking. Keep your head up, shoulders relaxed, and spine straight. Avoid slouching or leaning forward or backwards excessively.
Tip 2: Bend your arms
Your arms should be bent at the elbow to a 90-degree angle. Swing them naturally as you walk. The movement of your arms should be coordinated with your opposite leg. This helps maintain balance and rhythm.
Tip 3: Stride length
Take comfortable and natural steps. Avoid overstriding, where you reach too far forward with your leading foot. Overstriding can lead to increased stress on the knees and potentially cause pain or injury. Find a stride length that feels comfortable and allows you to maintain a smooth and efficient walking motion.
Tip 4: Foot strike
Land on your heel and roll through to your toe as you take each step. Avoid striking the ground with your toes or the ball of your foot first, as this can strain the calf muscles and lead to discomfort.
Tip 5: Weight distribution
Distribute your weight evenly between both feet as you walk. This helps maintain balance and reduces unnecessary strain on one side of the body.
Tip 6: Breathing
Breathe naturally and rhythmically as you walk. Focus on deep and relaxed breaths to enhance oxygen intake and overall relaxation. Read our blog explaining how important deep breathing is for supporting your immune system.
Footwear for Walking
Choose comfortable and supportive walking shoes that fit properly. Well-fitting shoes with cushioning and arch support can help reduce the impact on your feet and knees.
If you’re planning to go on regular walks, we recommend investing a good pair of walking shoes. Check out our article about what features to look for in a good pair of walking shoes.
Remember to listen to your body and adjust your walking technique if you experience any pain or discomfort. If you have specific concerns or ongoing knee pain, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional or a physical therapist who can provide personalised guidance and advice based on your individual needs.