4 small tweaks to your walking technique that can help you lose

4 small tweaks to your walking technique that can help you lose

Whether you consider yourself to be a hiker, daily dog-walker or a simple Sunday-stroller, walking is part of all of our lives. It’s a basic movement that gets us from A to B and comes with a list of benefits – including boosting mental health, helping the environment and keeping us active. But are we doing it right?

We met with Joanna Hall, creator and founder of Walkactive who has partnered with Walk All Over Cancer, for a lesson in how to walk properly. It might sound basic, but you’d be surprised at how a few small tweaks can make your walking quicker and more efficient. This, in turn, means you burn more calories, work your muscles more effectively, tone your stomach and help improve overall posture.

Joanna’s Walkactive programme, available as an app or a book, aims to change the way we walk to improve our health and fitness and help people achieve their dream physiques. It claims to:

Help weight loss
Help tone the body
Improve balance and posture
Improve muscle pain
So, here are a few things we can all start doing today to improve our walking technique and start seeing the positive effects on our bodies…

4 ways we can improve our walking
1. Your feet
Wrong: When we walk incorrectly, we have a passive foot. This is when the foot hits the floor more or less flat with restricted movement. This puts stress on your knees and spine as the weight is not evenly distributed. It also stops the leg muscles from working at their optimum level. Finally, it negatively affects balance.

Right: When the foot hits the floor, we should use a full roll of movement from the heel, through the base of the foot, over the ball and up through the toes. This is called an active foot with an open ankle. This allows the bottom and leg muscles to become active and helps to tone them, as well as creating a better alignment through the knee. Finally, this will increase the speed and efficiency of your walking.
2. Your hips
Wrong: People often slump their hips meaning that the hip bone rests on the pelvis. This means that the glutes and abdominal muscles are not engaged properly and will therefore not become more toned. It also means the shoulders are more likely to slump forward.

Right: We should all do the hips lift. This is the conscious movement of lifting the hips and rib cage up and away from the pelvis. This elongates and engages the abdominals and allows them to twist and tone. It will also helps tone the bottom and add speed.
3. Your head and shoulders
Wrong: The shoulders should not be slumped forward and the head should not be tilted downwards. This restricts the movement of the spine and limits its ability to twist. It also restricts breathing as the chest is concave.

Right: The shoulders should be back and down and the head should be lifted and looking forwards. We need to increase the distance between our ears and our shoulders to lengthen the spine and increase muscle movement and, therefore, toning.
4. Your arms
Wrong: The arms should not be restricted by slumped shoulders and a closed chest. They should not hang still.

Right: By opening up the chest, neck and shoulders as mentioned above, the arms should be able to swing naturally. This increases the natural twist in the abdominal muscles and improves tone.
How to walk properly when you are…
1. Wearing wellies
Wellies restrict the movement in our feet and makes it harder to engage an active foot and open ankle. In this case, you should put extra effort and concentration into the the hip lift. This will make you more steady and balanced and help to tone abs and glutes.

2. Walking a dog
Dogs can sometimes pull you forward which knocks your alignment and puts stress on certain muscles groups. To help your posture and stability, try your best to keep the dog at heel and, every time the dog stops to sniff, use this pause as the perfect time to realign yourself and engage the hip lift.

3. Going uphill
When you are walking up hill, it is important to push your body up from behind as opposed to dragging it up from the front. This is done with an active foot. You should also ensure your chest is open and facing up towards the hill as opposed to being closed and facing the ground. This will open the airwaves and stop you from becoming as out of breath.

4. Walking on uneven ground
Here, you should prioritise the hip lift to increase stability and stop you from falling over your ankle. Try not to look down but ahead.

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