Do you want to enjoy walking again? We evolved to walk. It is the best exercise we can do for our heart health are cardiovascular fitness, our joints and our muscle strength. Walking does it all and our bodies are made for it. But if you find that after a long walk or even a short walk you get a sore back; You feel like your knees take a pounding; Your feet ache or your neck gets sore. Then you will give up on walking! That is the beginning of the end for your health and your body!
I want to give you five exercises that you can do so that the next time you go for a walk, you will feel better in your body. Each of these videos below will give you some ideas to get started on simple exercise to improve your walking technique. I will also go through common errors and ways to cheat that rob you of the benefits of the exercise .
So here are my top five exercises to improve your walking technique and help you to enjoy walking again.
1. Calf stretch – enjoy walking again
Tight calves can change the way that your feet can move to get the most out of walking lengthen your cars before you go. This stretch is a cracker. If you haven’t tried it before give it ago you will get a really deep stretch in the back of your calf. Maybe even down into the muscles in your feet and it’s a really effective way to stretch your calves.
2. Muscle rolling
This one is great. If you have tension around your knees when the muscles around our knees are tight they change the way our legs our leg muscles can recruit. Freeing up your knees before you walk can make a real difference to how they how your legs feel at the end.
3. Prances and push offs
We want to get the feet strong and used to pushing our body weight around. This helps with propulsion the push off from the back leg that pushes us forward into walking. Start with the heel raises and then move into the prances and then go for the push us. These are so affective for building foot strength to get the propulsion we need for walking.
Glute strength is important for an effective ‘push off’ from your back leg, find out more building glute strength.
4. Hip list and swing
We are travelling up the leg now to the hip. This is where we can work on hip extension or getting the thigh bone behind the pelvis. It’s super important that your pelvis and spine. Stay fairly neutral as your leg travels back. This will stop you getting a sore back when walking.
5. Rib, rotations and arm swings
Walking is a full body activity. Upper body needs to be part of the movement rib rotations, and the swing of our arms are really important to counterbalance what’s happening as we change our weight from one foot to the other freeing up your rib cage shoulders and feeling the swing of your arms is a really nice way to tune yourself to the rhythm of walking.
So that’s my top five exercises from the Pilates repertoire to help you enjoy walking again. Most of these exercises are preparing you to improve your hip extension, getting your thigh bone behind your pelvis without losing your neutral spine. This is the game changer for walking to feel good in your body.
I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.