Having the right posture during fitness walking is good for your back.Thanks to this, long-distance walker Emmanuel Lassalle, was able to look after his bad back: "I started speed walking after an injury, at a time when I was having 4 lower back spasms per year. In a few months, these spasms disappeared and became a distant memory!"
There is a lot that goes into walking properly: the feet, the arms, breathing but also the initial posture. All of these movements should be carried out in the most natural and relaxed fashion. To avoid back pain and sometimes even to treat it, walking with the right posture, a straight back and relaxed shoulders is essential. Speed walking techniques are designed to get the most enjoyment from it!
TO WALK WELL, THINK ABOUT…
1 – Keep you back straight
Above all, you should not round your back so that your shoulders stay loose, down and relaxed.Your neck and head should be aligned with your body; having your back straight allows your spine to pivot correctly while you are speed walking.
"take care not to over-emphasize your body curve by sticking your bottom out. All this will do is give you lower back pain!"
2 – Look straight ahead, be proud to practise speed walking
Think about your chin as you walk: it should remain parallel to the ground. This facilitates breathing and helps to keep the back straight.
To go faster, many walkers lean forward hoping to walk fast. The only effect of this is to tire out you back muscles more quickly, and causing neck and shoulder pain.
"ideally, you should focus on a point on the ground about twenty yards ahead so as to keep your head straight and ensure that it is not tipping back".
3 – Keep your hips steady
Try and keep your hips steady to ensure stability when speed walking. Hips should advance from front to back. When your right leg goes forward, the movement should follow through right up to your hip. If you slouch down on them, this will simply multiply the impact force of your foot striking the ground.
- For reference: when speed walking, you bear 1½ times your weight, compared to 3 times your weight when running.
Steady hips during your fitness walking session is also the best guarantee for toning up your glutes and abs. "On that point - don’t squeeze your glutes while walking for fitness! This will result in contraction of your lower back, stiffening your spinal column" says Emmanuel.
Novice fitness walkers may still feel some aches and pains despite maintaining the right position. Your muscles left slacking due to years of poor posture are not yet strong enough. So don't hesitate to stop for some stretching, to be repeated when you have finished walking.