Walking is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways of staying fit, and its beauty really is in its simplicity. It’s usually the go-to way to get fit when you’re just starting to pay attention to your physical health, but novice walkers often find themselves sticking to walking as their primary form of exercise. And who’s to blame them? Walking burns calories, strengthens muscles and bones, and can also have a beneficial effect on mood.
With that being said, there is a right way to walk if you want to reap the benefits of this activity. Pay attention to the following things when you go walking for fitness.
- Keep your back and spine straight, and keep your ears over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips and your hips over your knees while you’re walking.
- Keep your arms bent at 90-degree angles, and pay attention to swing them while you walk. The swinging shouldn’t cross over your body, but should rather swing back and forth from your shoulders. When walking, your arms are the gas to the tyre speed of your feet: the faster you swing them, the faster your walking pace will be.
- Getting your stride just right might be the most complicated part of walking. Take care to land heel first with every step you take. Then, roll through your foot and push off with your toes. This might sound a little complicated, but it’s actually as simple as listening to the step when you walk. If you hear a slap, you’re probably not rolling your foot smoothly enough. Keeping a quick and steady pace will help to naturally get used to this way of walking more than walking at a slower pace will.
- Unlike some other types of shoes, walking shoes should be flexible to allow the feet to move. Ideally, stiffer jogging shoes should make way for shoes that are light and pliable enough to twist with your hands.
Although any form of physical activity can be beneficial, walking distinguishes itself because it doesn’t require any prior training, equipment, facilities or special skills.
Dr Amar Singhal interventional cardiologist at the Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in Dehli explains that it might even be the best activity to start taking up.
“Walking is considered as the nearest activity to perfect exercise,” says Dr Singhal.
“It’s the easiest way to increase physical activity and improve fitness. It is popular and accessible to all, with a minimal risk of injury.”
With benefits ranging from improved respiratory efficiency, better cardiac health, stronger joints, muscles and bones, weight loss, blood pressure control and improved mental health, just 30 minutes of brisk walking can hold significant health advantages to people of all ages and fitness levels. Why don’t you step out and start today?