Walking Your Way to Fitness with Ease – Part 1
Posted on: March 10, 2016.

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

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Walking is one of the earliest developmental milestones we achieve even when we were just toddlers. We have been walking and walking and walking, ever since then.

But today walking has become a necessary activity to call ourselves a fitness guru, isn’t it?

Everyone has made resolutions to walk every day. Some have succeeded in keeping this up, while many are quite inconsistent in the follow up plan.

The question is:

Am I walking right?
Am I following the right techniques of walking?
Is there a technique, at all?
How should I walk efficiently?

There is a specific technique that I have to adopt while walking if I have to achieve certain benefits out of the exercise. The more efficient I am in my stride, the more confidant will I be in my abilities to achieve my goals. The right technique will help me safety cover more ground in less time, with less effort and greater consistency.

There are basically four styles of walking: power walking, speed walking, aerobic walking and race walking. Race walking alone is governed by a specific set of rules; hence it has a clear cut definition to it but, for here, we will simply talk of walking as a real form of exercise.

Walking creates benefits in the walker giving him/her increased efficiency, better use of his/her energy potential, decreased risk of injury, better comfort and farther strides. Looking at the general and overall health benefits, walking enhances increase in calories getting burned, increased muscle well being, body shaping, distressing and keeping diseases at bay.

Whatever form of waling we choose, should primarily keep me comfortable and safe. Here we should break up this technique of walking into a series of components each as an individual motion and focus on each of them separately. Then we can see the full picture. Each one has to select that particular walking stride most comfortable to me and practice it, putting each piece into place to build the muscle memory that will help me to achieve and our strides may differ valiantly from one to another. So it may not be possible to master this technique to perfection by just knowing the ‘how’ of it. What suits you to make you comfortable is what matters the most. So each one may have to choose the piece from here most suitable to each one taking one’s our pace is important.

The foundation of a good basic stride is posture. The spine should be elongated by standing straight; not kept rigid as in a military regime fashion.

One should stand merely straight, tall and relaxed. The pastime adopted should enable a straight line to be drawn from ear to shoulder down, to one’s hip, knee and ankle. All there in a straight line of course, beware of an unnatural arch in your lower back. This is commonly termed as ‘sway back’. This is an incorrect posture. This can cause great physical distress, especially walking long distances.

To be aware of this, one has to practice tucking one’s bottom under one’s belly, keeping the pelvic region under a neutral position. To accomplish this, also pull in your abdominal muscles and at the same time squeeze in your bottom region.

So once, you stand tall, you will walk tall!

Next, is the posture regarding your head. The head should be level, eyes looking forward, the chin parallel to the ground. The chin need not be protruding nor need the head be tiled at an angle. You don’t have to look right down at the ground. If so done, excess strain will be thrust on the neck and shoulders which will cause undue fatigue. Looking ahead 10-20 feet in front of you is fine…

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