We all know how to do it. We do it every day, so surely you know a thing or two about putting one foot in front of the other, right?
While walking is a great exercise, walking mistakes are more common than you might think.
Here are 8 frequent mistakes that could be holding you back.
The Wrong Shoes
Not all shoes are good for walking.
If your shoes are too loose, they won’t provide the support you need. Too tight and they can rub and cause calluses or corns.
Incorrect shoes could also lead to plantar fasciitis, muscle pulls, and joint problems.
Tennis or basketball shoes are also not the best choice. The stiffness of these shoes helps support quick sideways movement but hinders the heel-to-toe flexibility that’s good for walking.
A great shoe to look out for, is a well-padded shoe by the heel, that’s light, breathable, and water-resistant. Some running shoes might even work well as a walk-specific shoe.
But for the best fit, it is best to speak to a athletic shoe expert, as they will make sure you get the right shoe for overpronation, well supported and flexible enough for walking.
Not Using Your Arms
It is natural to move your arms while walking to counterbalance your leg motion.
If you were to keep your arms just hanging there, it creates more work for your body and slows down your pace.
Keeping your arms straight down, can also lead to your hands being swelled up whilst walking, especially in warm weather.
Bend your elbows to 90° and relax your shoulders. Just by implementing more of your arms, you add more power and speed.
Walking With Your Head Down
People do this all the time, and they end up with rounded shoulders, and back problems.
Good posture for walking allows you to breathe well and prevents problems with your back, neck, and shoulders.
The correct walking posture is to keep your chin up when walking, it should be parallel to the ground.
The Wrong Walking Clothes
Clothes are important too.
Clothes that are too tight and heavy, often leads to an uncomfortable walk. They should be loose, comfortable, and breathable so you can move easily.
The inner layer should be fabric such as CoolMax or polypropylene that will take sweat away from your body, unlike cotton, which holds it in next to the skin.
The outer layer should be a jacket that is windproof, and waterproof or water-resistant in wet climates.
Its surprising just how warm you can get when walking, you can remove thin layers as you get warmer and add them back when you’re cold.
Being visible is also important and going for clothes that have reflective elements, is a good safety choice.
If you can find them, climb them.
Walking up an incline strengthens muscles that may otherwise be neglected when walking on flatter surfaces.
Not stretching afterward
Most walkers forget to cool-down.
Muscles and tendons need to ease into an activity, just as much as they need to ease out. Otherwise, they could end up being tight and you will start to feel cramps.
On completion of your walk, spend a few moments stretching all of your major muscles again. If a muscle feels tight then stretch it for longer.
The older you get, the more important it is to stretch after being active.
Walking Too Slowly
Walking is a gentle form of exercise but walking too slowly means you won’t experience much benefits from your workouts.
It’s hard to set a specific speed to walking workouts as some people are naturally faster walkers than others.
Whatever speed you walk at, for your workout to be effective, you should be slightly out of breath and feeling warm.
The Wrong Drinks
Drinking the wrong drinks such as Soda, can lead to an increase in sugar and more calories that you don’t want.
Sport drinks are also great but you probably don’t need extra electrolytes if you’re only going for a moderate walk.
The best way to stay hydrated when you walk, is water. Drink a cup of water ten minutes before your walk. During your walk, drink a cup or more of water every 20 minutes, or simply drink when you feel thirsty. Upon completion, drink another glass of water.
To get the health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week.
Walking is a safe and effective workout if you take the time to prepare and avoid making these common mistakes.