Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Walking is the most popular exercise in the world. Learn how to do it properly to protect your neck.
You have seen that hunched-over posture that many people assume when they’re in front of their computers, on their phones, or sitting behind the wheel of their cars. Spending too much time in this posture can cause weak back muscles and tight chest muscles. Many people bring that poor posture to walking. It can be comforting to be in this position if they are worried about tripping and falling. It’s also a common response to walking in cold, windy weather, so dressing appropriately can improve posture.
In some cases, especially in older adults, the rounded posture could be the result of a spinal disorder called kyphosis, which is an exaggerated curvature of the upper back. Osteoporosis, arthritis, and poor posture are common contributors to kyphosis. Anyone with exaggerated kyphosis should see a doctor to treat the underlying cause.
When people straighten up, they look and feel better, and walking becomes easier. Here are some tips to walk correctly:
Fall forward - Start from a standing position, lean forward at the ankle. Once gravity takes over and you feel like you are going to fall, take a step. This is the posture for walking. Avoid standing straight as you walk as this can put extra stress on the muscles of the lower leg.
Keep head level – To do this, focus on a spot 10 feet in front of you. This will allow you to take in your path with your eyes without dropping your head forward. Forward head puts stress on the back of the neck causing aches and pains and tension headaches.
Relax the shoulders – Raising the shoulders causes stress in the upper back and neck.
Avoid bending at the waist – This posture puts a lot of stress on the low back, especially when walking longer distances. Standing tall is a good queue to solve this.
Arm swing – the most efficient way to walk is with your arms bent 90 degrees at the elbow and swinging them straight out in front of the body. Avoid swinging the arms across the body as this can negatively affect gait.
Following these few tips will improve posture, ease pain while walking and help you stay healthy for a long time.
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