How to Get a Better Walking Posture

Posture on Treadmill

Caiaimage / Robert Daly / Getty Images

How you hold your body is an important factor in being able to walk comfortably and easily. With good posture, you will be able to breathe easier and you will avoid back pain. Great walking posture will also make it easier to walk farther and to walk faster.

If you've had problems enjoying walking because you feel aches and pains afterward, the first thing to check is your posture and how you carry your head and shoulders. As a bonus, improving your walking posture will make you look longer, leaner, and more fit. It's an instant upgrade for zero cost—just a little practice and mindfulness.

7 Steps to Good Walking Posture

Set yourself up for the right posture before you begin walking.

  1. Stand up straight. Visualize being tall and straight, like a tree. Do not arch your back.
  2. Do not lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts a strain on the back muscles as you walk, and you should avoid leaning except when on a hill. Unfortunately, some coaches have taught leaning for speedwalking, but it is not necessary, and often people lean too far forward or back.
  3. Keep your eyes forward. Avoid looking down. Your focus should be about 20 feet ahead of you. This way you will be able to see your path and anything coming at you from the sides.
  4. Keep your chin up (parallel to the ground). This reduces strain on your neck and back. A proper chin position will also allow you to look ahead rather than down at your feet.
  5. Let your shoulders be back and relaxed. Shrug once and allow your shoulders to fall and relax, slightly back. Loosening up the shoulders in this way will help relieve tension and put them into a position to use good arm motion while walking. You can also do this at intervals during your walk to ensure you are keeping your shoulders relaxed.
  6. Suck in your stomach. Your core muscles can help you maintain good posture and resist slouching and leaning. Keeping your stomach pulled in slightly (while still taking deep, full breaths) can help you maintain good walking posture.
  7. Tuck in your behind and rotate your hips forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back. You shouldn't have your butt sticking out while you're walking.

Maintain Good Posture While Walking

Having set a good posture alignment before you start your walk, you are ready to enjoy a walk, but it's rarely a one-and-done proposition. Each time you come to a halt during your walk, such as when waiting to cross a street, do a posture check before you start again. If you rarely have a break in your stride, check your posture each time you take a drink of water or at a regular interval.

If you discover the same posture problem recurs regularly as you walk, focus on it specifically. You might have to be mindful about maintaining relaxed shoulders, for example. Or, you might find yourself with your chin down often. With attention, you can break yourself of these poor posture habits.

Do
  • Stand up straight

  • Keep your head up and eyes forward

  • Hold in your stomach

  • Keep your upper body relaxed

Don't
  • Ignore proper form

  • Arch your back

  • Shrug your shoulders

  • Look down at your phone

Devices and Posture Problems

Resist the urge to engage with your smartphone while walking or you will end up looking down at it and lose good posture. Each time you look down at your phone or other walking tech, mindfully regain good walking posture. Otherwise, you may fall back into poor posture without realizing it.

Avoid manipulating or looking at your phone by getting Bluetooth earbuds or headphones for making and taking calls and other phone tasks. Unfortunately, this is bad news for Pokemon Go players and might be a good reason to get the Pokemon Go Plus accessory or Apple Watch app.

Practice Good Posture Every Time

If you start looking at the posture of treadmill walkers at the gym or walkers at a charity walk, you'll notice how prevalent poor posture is. Spending the first 15 seconds of your walking session setting up good posture will give you a much better workout.

Before a walk on the treadmill or through a park, check your posture. Even when you are just getting out of a chair and heading down the hall, take a couple of seconds to check your posture.

Regular posture checks, whether you are just walking around while doing errands or walking for exercise, can help you learn better posture over time. Soon it will become a good walking habit.

While it is important to check your posture regularly, you shouldn't be so focused on your form that it affects your gait or makes your motions stiff and awkward. If you feel like you are working too hard on it, relax. Just keep periodically checking your posture and eventually It should become second nature.

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Article Sources
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