Walking your way to fitness works! That’s why Healthy Careers is introducing a walking series on optimizing your goals and comfort level as you put one foot in front of the other. For travel nurses and therapists working in cities with great summer weather, there’s no excuse not to tap into a scenic park near you; click on www.traillink.com and plug in your zip code for a 411 on the best scenic hikes in your area!
Part I focuses on proper walking form, and how that requires good posture and purposeful movements. Next time you go for a walk remember to:
- Hold Your Head High and Keep Your Chin Parallel to the Ground. Your Hands should be loose in a partially closed curl, never clenched.
- Move Your Shoulders Naturally. Rigidness is NOT recommended. You should push off with your hips, and work your calves, hamstrings and glute muscles, taking as much work as you can off your quad muscles.
- Keep Your Back Straight, Not Arched Forward or Backward. Think of your body as a spring that functions when its head over shoulders, over hips, with your head just behind the knees, just in front of the ankles. Your center of mass should be directly over the balls of your feet.
- Swing Your Arms Freely with a Slight Bend in Your Elbows—a bend of about 90 degrees is optimal.
- Look Forward, Not at the Ground prevents a slip and fall and lets you enjoy the scenery. Scientists have proven that brain fatigue doesn’t stand a chance against a backdrop of trees and flowers.
- Walk Smoothly, Rolling your Foot from Heel to Toe and try to do so briskly, completing your walk of a mile in 20 minutes or less. Physical therapists recommend 150 minutes of walking per week.
- Gently Tighten your Stomach Muscles and take the pressure of your quads, which can lead to back pain when overstressed; it’s your abs and glutes that can save the day here.
Healthy Careers Wishes You Happy Trails with a Tried and True Motivational Tip!
Once you have these moves down and use them to take more and smaller steps, you will be…drumroll…a serious fitness walker! Fast walkers train themselves to increase the number of steps they take per second, and to get full use out of the back part of the stride. So where will you be walking today, and in what pair of footwear? Be sure to check in next week, and we’ll have tips on comfortable walking shoes, and what expert therapists have to say about them.
Until then, here’s a motivational tip that comes from one of the top healthy lifestyle diets in the United States. Weight Watchers says you should set an “after” policy with your fitness routines, as in, “I always walk after I….fill in the bank. Before you know it, you’ll have a healthy lifestyle routine on your hands…er feet! We wish you happy trails!