Walking Correctly: A Step by Step Guide
If you’ve been in a rut lately, walking is the perfect way to ease back into being active. It’s an active recovery that helps to build your stamina and energy the more that you do it.
From cancer to chronic conditions and diabetes, just 20 minutes a day can lower your risk of disease. It can help ease aching muscles and back pain, and even prevent high blood pressure, cholesterol, and other heart issues. And that’s just the physical! Breathing in fresh air and getting vitamin D is a known mood-booster. Taking a walk is a simple way to release endorphins — aka, your body’s “happy drugs.”
Ready to make regular walks part of your routine? We’ve got some great tips to keep in mind!
How to walk correctly
Did you know there’s a wrong way to walk? It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Walking correctly prevents you from injuring your body and keeps your posture aligned. Plus, if it becomes a daily habit, it ensures you’re not putting unnecessary wear and tear on your joints and muscles.
So, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re walking.
- Keep your head up and your gaze 10 to 20 feet ahead of you.
- Wear appropriate shoes for the weather.
- Stand up straight with your shoulders down and back.
- Pull your belly button back towards your spine to engage your core muscles.
- Loosen your body by swinging your arms.
- Step heel-to-toe instead of hitting the pavement with your heel first.
Being aware of your form and posture when you walk will not only help you grow stronger in your core, but it can do wonders for your day-to-day posture. As you’re walking, pay attention to what your body is doing and adjust where needed.
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Here are simple things you can do to be safe as you head out on a walk.
- Tell someone where you’re going. It’s always a wise idea to make sure someone else knows your plans.
- In cold weather, layers are key. First layers need to be synthetic fabrics to help absorb the sweat away from skin. The next layer should be wool or fleece to hold that extra warmth in. Then, you need a waterproof outer layer to protect you from the elements. The shell layer can be a lightweight windbreaker or vest, or a heavier jacket. Also, cover vulnerable areas such as hands, toes, face, and head. Doubling up on socks constricts blood flow in your feet, so opt for one quality pair of long thermal or wool socks instead.
- Make sure you are seen. If it’s getting dark, wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight. Stay on the sidewalk or path and stay alert.
- Have a plan for slipping and falling — bring your phone with you or stay close to home.
Time to take a stroll!
Did you know that CA cares for more than 114 miles of pathways and sidewalks for walking, biking and jogging? There’s truly no shortage of scenic walks in Columbia! Click here for a pathways map.