Effective and Safe Walking Workout Tips

Effective and Safe Walking Workout Tips

Following are some tips to make your walking workout effective and safe :

1) Hold your head high with eyes straight ahead. With this posture, your head is balanced over the spine, the chin is parallel to the ground, and you will have freer movement of the arms and legs

2) Directing your vision forward activates a righting reflex, which automatically contracts the erector spine muscles of the lower back. This enables you to maintain an erect position and allows the spine to assume its normal curvature.

Some experts suggest contracting the abdominal muscles and tucking in the pelvis while walking. We don't recommend this because when the abdominals are contracted, the pelvis is tilted, which in turn flattens the lower back. When normal lower-back curvature is eliminated, the spine is exposed to dangerous forces. Also, the contracted abdominals and the tilted pelvis do not allow for proper push-off and forward thigh movement.

3) Keep your shoulders back and your chest out to allow for more effective arm movement. If you keep your abdominals contracted, a concurrent "sinking" of the chest and rounding of the shoulders occurs, which stretches the middle trapezius and rhomboid muscles. The head-up/ erect-spine position automatically draws back the shoulders, which allows you to breathe easier and more fully.

4) Swing your arms forward and backward, in line with the direction of your feet. In fast fitness walking, the shoulders tend to rotate (the arms and hands cross over the front of the body), especially during long strides and when the arm movement is fairly rapid. But by moving the arms forward and back with only slight inward motion of the arms and hands, you stabilize the shoulders, and the internal and external obliques hold the pelvic girdle in place.

5) Keep the pelvis (hips) facing forward. In walking, and especially in fast fitness walking, the pelvis should maintain the same forward-facing position at all times. This is helped by keeping your feet in a straight line with each foot plant. For example, if you straddle a line while you walk, the left foot plant will be immediately to the left of the line and the right foot plant will be on the right side of the line. The slower you walk, the farther apart (away from the line) each foot plant becomes. The faster you walk, the closer each foot plant gets to the midline.

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