Correcting Common Walking Errors

Everybody moves differently, but walkers of all levels, from strollers to racers, make three common mistakes. Guard  against them, because they  inhibit your style  and  cause injuries.

  1. Waist lean.  If you have  an ache in your  low back  after  a walk, you may be tilting  forward and  letting your  buttocks stick  out.  Not exactly attractive, let  alone efficient  or  fitness inducing. Stand  with  your  back  against a wall. Now, tighten your abdominal muscles and  lean  forward only  slightly from your  ankles. That’s the  proper forward lean.  Now lean  forward, leaving  your buttocks against the  wall—that’s the  lean from the  waist  you want  to avoid.
  2. Overstriding. Does your  hair, hat,  or scarf  flop up and  down  when  you walk? That  may be an Correcting Common Walking Errorsindication that you are  bouncing as you walk because you are overstriding. Slightly shortening your  stride will usually eliminate the bounce and  let you skim the  ground. Every time  your  heel  hits  the  ground in a stride that’s too long, you’re breaking your forward motion and forcing  your body  to move up and over into the next step, causing the bounce-along stride. Experiment with  different stride lengths. Try a really long one,  then a teeny, short one,  then somewhere in between. Then  find the  equilibrium where you don’t  bounce.
  3. Elbow whipping. The arm swing comes from the shoulder, not the elbow. Imagine  punching something in front of you with one  hand after the other as they alternatively swing forward. If you’re actually “beating a drum” with up and down motions that come from your elbow bending and unbending, then you’re doing it wrong. Try this experiment: Put a long piece of string around your neck and hold an end in each hand, making sure your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Now walk. If you feel the string sliding  back  and  forth behind your neck,  that means you’re beating the drum, pulling the string down to the right, then down to the left. Eliminating the string burn will eliminate the elbow  whipping.

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