Walking can ease stiffness and joint pain — if you do it right. Perfect your posture with these tips.
Here at SilverSneakers, we believe that aches and pains don’t have to be a given as we age. That’s why we created the 7-Day Move Better, Feel Better Challenge. This week, we’re sharing simple things you can do every day to soothe stiff joints, loosen tight muscles, and enjoy the activities you love for years to come.
We can’t say it enough: Walking is a really effective workout. Regularly hitting your local trails, strolling around the block, or even doing laps around your house packs in a whole host of health benefits.
Plus, it can help you stay loose, build strength, and even ease joint pain. “Walking is one of the simplest ways to stay fit and feel confident,” says SilverSneakers LIVE instructor Shannon Thigpen.
In order to get these amazing, feel-good benefits, though, we have to be mindful of our form.
Walking with your head down or your shoulders rounded can put undue stress on our body, leading to pain or even injury.
Your solution? Practice proper posture. Here, Shannon shares her tips for getting the most out of your walking workouts.
How to Practice These Walking Form Tips
You’ll just need yourself and some open floor space. Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it as often as you like. After all, practice makes perfect. Anytime we aim to change our posture, it takes consistency to fix old habits and retrain our mind-body connection.
When you’re ready, press play and follow along with Shannon. Her four tips for walking with confidence and staying safe are:
Tip No. 1: Walk Tall
How to do it: Stand tall with your ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles.
Why it works: Proper alignment helps your muscles work at their best. It also helps distribute gravity’s force evenly between your joints.
Tip No. 2: Engage Your Core
How to do it: Draw your navel up and in.
Why it works: It keeps your upper body and lower body in alignment and protects your back. And as a nice perk, bracing your core as you exercise can help slim your waistline, too.
Tip No. 3: Step Heel-Ball-Toe
How to do it: As you step forward, land on your heel and roll through your foot’s natural range of motion to your toes.
Why it works: This pattern helps distribute your weight properly as you walk. As Shannon notes: “This action really good for your bones and your muscles. And for balance.”
Tip No. 4: Look Up
How to do it: Keeping your ears over your shoulders, let your gaze naturally fall to the ground ahead of you, about 10 or 15 feet away.
Why it works: Looking straight down can be dangerous, says Shannon. For one, your vision could be distorted if you wear glasses. And your posture suffers. “You start rounding through your shoulders and you start to lose more balance,” she adds.
As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than your regular SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Bonus Challenge: Try a Walk Strong (Express) Class
Continue to perfect your posture with our new Walk Strong (Express) class. Whether you walk for fitness or just want to feel good and stay independent, these 15-minute sessions will help you reach your goals. It’s offered online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here.
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