Moving the arms is an essential part of active walking!

When you are fitness walking, it isn't just your legs that help you move! Your arms are also used to push you forwards, which gives your whole body a workout. Discover how to pace your stride using your arms, increase your walking speed and tone your body!


Use your arms to walk more quickly and improve your muscle tone

Working on your arm movement helps to distribute the physical effort between your legs and your upper body.

Your arms work like metronomes to give rhythm to your fitness walking session and breathing. 

Emmanuel Lassalle, cross-country walker, works on his arm movement during each of his walking sessions. Here is his advice:

"It's important to concentrate on this movement, which is as important as the movement of the feet. Walking with your arms works the oblique muscle groups and tones the body, as you use more energy if your arms are moving during your session. If is the ideal sport if you are aiming to tone up your arms while you exercise."

When you use your arms to walk, you will soon notice a second bonus effect: the more you use your arms, the faster you will walk!

Using your arms as pendulums during fitness walking

Following from the movement of the feet, the movement of your arms should be as fluid as possible. By releasing tension, you will avoid pain in your shoulders, neck and back.

Your goal: to walk confidently, but also in a relaxed way!

To achieve this, Emmanuel Lassalle advises walkers to "train yourself first to move your arms at rest, in front of a mirror, to get a hang of the movement to adopt. This is also a good way to warm up before going out to walk!"

Using the correct arm movement

1 - To start: your arms should be at a right angle

Arm at 90° (right angle) Your shoulders should be relaxed and positioned neither too high, nor too low. Your fists should be closed, but not tightly.

2 – Your arms should move from front to back

This should imitate a pendulum movement, front to back in a forwards direction, guided by your elbows.

During this movement, your arms should naturally glide past the centre of your body. The trajectory of your hand is well marked: your wrist should not move lower than your waist, nor should it go further forwards than your hips.

Above all, your hand should never go higher than your sternum, otherwise you may slow the rhythm of your fitness walking session.


3 – Don't forget your shoulders!

When you have mastered the movement of the arms, remember also to use your shoulders to propel your stride forwards. The idea is to stretch as far as possible behind you. 

Have you got it? Now you just have to coordinate the top with the bottom! Swing your arms in step with the opposing leg: when your left hand is in front, your left foot is behind.

Emmanuel Lassalle warns against a common mistake made by beginner fitness walkers: "trying to reach too high with your hand or contracting the arm muscles as you move."

Now you know which movements to make with your arms for fitness walking: it's time to put your best foot forwards!~