Walking is free, flexible and fun. It’s good for our minds, our bodies and our neighbourhoods and has been a lifeline during the past year or so, helping people stay active and connected. No matter what your level of fitness is, walking is one of the easiest ways to be more active, lose weight and become healthier, plus it’s good for our environment too. The more we all walk, the less pollution we create.
Health experts recommend a brisk daily walk as an easy way to improve your health with a 20 minute walk being shown to reduce the risk of several preventable health conditions, including certain cancers, depression, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Walking is relatively injury-free and a weight-bearing exercise so it will also strengthen your bones and offset conditions such as osteoporosis.
Whether you’re walking as a family, trying to fit in some exercise whilst working from home, or if you’re
restricted to indoor exercise - Living Streets #Try20 tips have something for you.
Roy our Alexander Technique teacher shares his tips on how to walk well
- Sit on the edge of a table so your lower legs hang over the edge.
- Bring back your left leg until it is underneath the table and let it go so it swings forward. It’s important to let it go and not to swing it forward yourself.
- Let alternate legs swing with minimal effort and visualise each leg as a pendulum.
Now try a similar experiment with your arms.
- Stand and visualise a line from the tip of your shoulders through the biceps, down the arm to your thumbs or just think ‘long arms’.
- As with the legs, see if you can get your arms swinging straight and by your side with minimal effort without lifting your shoulders.
The objective of the two exercises above is to give you the sensation of movement using less effort. So when taking a relaxed walk think about the steps below: If you’re walking to raise your heart rate higher, note no. 4 below.
- First, locate your hips joints. Stand and use your fingers to trace the bony parts at the front of the pelvis above each leg. Walk your fingers down toward the legs until you find the dent (if you do a shallow squat you will feel where the legs meet the pelvis). This is where your legs should swing from.
- Bend your knee and let your lower leg swing through as it did when sitting on the table in the first exercise. As your foot lands imagine you’re stroking the ground with a heel to ball foot action.
- Think ‘walk tall’ but avoid tightening your lower back and pushing out your chest. Relax and let your arms swing from your shoulders and your legs swing from your hip joints. Check you’re not lifting your shoulders even when walking at speed.
- If you want to increase speed, be careful not to tighten up with the effort. Just let your arms swing a little quicker and your legs will catch up without any sense of extra effort. Try it - it works!
For more information on the Alexander Technique please click here, or for information on National Walking month see www.livingstreets.co.uk