There’s more to good walking form than standing up straight. Proper foot alignment and a powerful push-off keep you walking longer and stronger. First, use this simple test to find out how fit you are, then make good technique second nature with these exercises from Dr Suki Munseli, developer of Dynamic Walking.
1. Shirt pull
Why it’s crucial: Lengthens spine to prevent slumping.
Cross your arms at the wrists in front of your waist and raise your arms, as if you’re pulling a shirt up and over your head. Grow taller as you reach up. Lower your arms, letting your shoulders drop into place. Repeat frequently during a walk to avoid back tightness.
2. Pendulum swing
Why it’s crucial: Keeps hips lifted for a smooth stride.
Holding onto something for support, like the back of a chair, balance on your right leg and swing your left leg forward and backward eight to 10 times without touching your foot to the ground. Repeat, this time swinging your right leg.
3. Heel-toe roll
Why it’s crucial: Realigns feet and knees.
Stand with your feet parallel, one shoe-width apart. With your knees slightly bent, roll from heel to toe eight to 10 times, rocking back and forth down the centre of your feet.
4. Kick sand
Why it’s crucial: Increases push-off power.
Standing tall, scrape the ground with one foot as if to kick sand behind you, like a dog digging a hole. Use your whole leg, from the hip to the butt. Don’t lean forward too much. Repeat six times on each side.