February 26, 2015
How to make the most of walking
Walking is one of the easiest ways to keep yourself active, especially when you are struggling for time due to work commitments.
It does not matter where you are. Whether you’re in picturesque countryside surroundings or in the middle of a busy city centre, you can still put in some time to keep yourself on your feet and boost your health, both physically and mentally.
While the risk of injury in walking is lower than many other physical activities, people still need to make sure they adopt the right techniques, or they could end up with muscle strains, broken bones and a range of other issues.
Quite often, even people who walk regularly will discover that their posture is not quite right and, while you may not feel pain at the moment, a bad technique can lead to muscle spasms and herniated discs.
What’s more, if you are aiming for specific weight loss goals, it is vital you are walking in the right way, or you could end up falling short of your aims.
To make the most out of walking, here are some of the key things people need to address:
As already mentioned, this is incredibly important for anyone serious about walking as a form of exercise.
Walking comes natural to us and we’ve all been doing it as long as we can remember, but that does not mean we’re doing it right. People are generally taught to walk as a toddler and then left to develop their technique themselves, which is where a lot of the risks come in.
We all grow at different rates and our height, weight and frame will all differ greatly over time, so it is key that our walking style changes along with it. For example, some people may have grown accustomed to walking with a slump, which can make them vulnerable to a variety of muscle problems.
If you are serious about walking, you should start by addressing your posture. Your spine needs to be straight, while your ears need to be over your shoulders and your shoulders should be over your hips.
Arms should swing back and forth from your shoulders, rather than across the body, as the latter can force awkward muscle movements that can lead to spasms.
Your feet need to land heel first on every step before pushing off with your toes. If you land with too much force, you are placing too much weight on your feet.
Find the right distance
It is easy to set an over-ambitious target with walking, but aiming too high can only lead to disappointment and potential injuries.
Start with a small goal and work your way up over time. A good idea may be to download an app that tracks the amount of steps you take everyday, as this will give you a good idea of what you could be capable of.
At first, start by aiming for a distance that is just above your usual daily average, then aim to increase this every week by a few hundred metres.
Once you reach the point where you are struggling, you should evaluate whether you are ready to increase your distance or remain at the length you are currently at.
Walk in surroundings that motivate you
If you are struggling to see any real progress with your walking, it may be due to your surroundings.
After all, walking the same route every week will quickly become tedious. Try to mix things up by walking in the countryside, or walking to a particular place of interest. This could be a friend’s house or a cafe!
Whatever you choose, picking a final destination will give you something to aim for and, if the walk itself is scenic and easy on the eye, you will be more likely to enjoy it and reach your goals.