Fitness Articles

How to Walk with Proper Form and Technique

The Art and Science of Fitness Walking

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Take to the Hills
There’s a natural tendency to lean forward when walking uphill and lean backward when walking downhill. However, leaning can put a lot of strain on your back, and should be avoided when possible. So what's a walker to do? Remember your cues for posture and form. Maintain your posture as upright as possible, especially on mild and moderate hills. Steep declines may require slight leaning, but be careful not to put too much weight in your heels, which can cause your feet to slip out from under you on loose terrain. When walking up an incline, push upward and forward with your toes, pumping your arms to help you. When walking downhill, relax your knees a little bit to absorb some of the extra impact.

The 8 Keys to Proper Fitness Walking
And you thought walking was simple! There are a lot of things to keep in mind. This quick list summarizes the info above so you can get out there and put one foot in front of the other!
  1. Stand tall, with your shoulders back, head and neck aligned with your spine, and abs pulled in.
  2. Push off with the toes of your rear foot, and land squarely on the heel of your lead foot.
  3. Roll through the entire foot, from heel strike to the ball of your foot to the final push off with your toes, allowing your ankle to more through its full range of motion.
  4. Avoid over-striding. Increase the number of steps per minute to increase speed.
  5. Bend elbows at a right angle, and swing your arms from the shoulder, keeping elbows close to your sides.
  6. Avoid clenching hands or over-swinging your arms.
  7. Minimize leaning on hills.
  8. Don’t neglect stretching and strength training, especially if you experience burning or tightness in shins or calve muscles.
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About The Author

Dean Anderson Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.

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