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How to Walk with Proper Form and Technique

The Art and Science of Fitness Walking

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  • Walking heel to toe is actually harder on your knees, you should strike the ground with your midfoot.
  • Dean, I really think after reading comments and discussing with other exercisers that you are really missing the boat on your guidelines to walking pace. I have many years of treadmill work and 3.6 mph is plenty fast enough and gets my heart rate into a high range. My friends and I are jogging at a 4/4.2 mph pace. At 5 mph we are definitely at a sprint. I work out 5-6 times per week and would not consider myself out of shape. I have to say something because I think it is comments like in this story and research that contribute to the world's obesity epidemic. Although your article has some great expectations, these numbers for walking pace immediately turns anyone thinking about exercise and experienced exercisers away from getting or staying in shape. Maybe those numbers are accurate for professionals, but let's be more realistic. Comments like this defeat the purpose in encouraging more people to get and stay active and I fail to believe that this research is based in any average person.
  • Instead of pumping your arms, get a good walking stick (how about an article on how to get a good one and use it properly?)

    A walking stick will actually work your upperbody as you push off from the ground, and since your arms/chest are doing some of the work, you can walk longer/farther.

    And it gives your hands something to do as you move along...
  • I walk heal to toe as the article state, but lately, I've experienced a pain in the part of my right foot just beneath the middle toe. I've tried to look up what could be causing this and have followed what little advice there is on it, but have found no relief. Fortunately, it doesn't bother me all the time. Sometimes, it hurts after 15 minutes of walking, sometimes after an hour of walking. Shoes don't seem to a contributor as I've walked in various types of shoes and pain always happens sooner or later.

    I'm going to the Dr. soon and I'll ask him. Meanwhile, like so many others have said, I'll just do the best I can.
  • This article was helpful. I learned a couple of things about walking that I didn't know could be harming me. Thanks!
  • MS_GODDESS
    I'm another "shorty" who just doesn't have a long stride. I'm practically jogging at about 3.7 mph. However, this was a good "refresher" article that reminded me to stop clenching my fists when walking. I also have never read any sort of instruction regarding hills, so I'll keep that in mind for next time - I definitely tend to lean forward when going uphill.
  • As soon as I read the words "heel strike" I knew I wasn't going to be following all of this advice. I wear Zero heel drop" shoes for walking and my 5ks. In these you walk on your toes first, and softly land your heels, which is much better on my arthritic knees and easier for my hips and back as well.
    My fav shoe, for most anything is still the Fivefingers series. ( yes I know the company had some problems with their more outrageous claims about their "barefoot running" technology , and had to offer to buy back the shoes..but I'm not an extreme runner looking to shave time off my splits , I'm a chubby, arthritic senior who just wants to walk with less pain, which these shoes help me achieve.
  • KIMBERLY1EVANS
    i am a daily runner, and i also do yoga stretches before my runs each day. I had Plantar Fasciitis and it devastaated me. I couldnt run anymore which is one of my favorite exercises. I just recently cured my PF and i created a blog explaining what it took for me to cure it. Im sure the readers here could enjoy http://www.howtocureplantarfasciitis.org
  • As a runner, I have had to totally relearn how to land my foot-strike as it is completely different with walking. If I had read this article sooner, I might have avoided painful shin splints!
  • I have a total knee that only bends 88 degrees. It is very difficult for me to walk fast. I do however, march in place. I always thought the average person walked 6 mph. I guess it really does depend on how long your legs are. Like the saying different strokes for different folks. I just walk thinking about keeping my abs in and swinging my arms. I also concentrate on hitting heel first and pushing with my toes.
  • Reading thru some of the comments, I can agree with the others. The speed rate is not the same for everyone. I am 5ft 3, and I normally, according to my app, walk at a rate of 2.4, which is the average for me. I have pushed it to 3. But I just feel that everyone is different and shouldnt be expected to walk the same. Longer strides, shorter strides. I have foot issues and sometimes i have to really slow my pace to avoid pain. But the biggest issue I have is learning how to walk heel to toe. I have tried this and cannot be sure I am walking as instructed. I find myself paying too much attention to what my feet are doing and not enjoying my walk. So, my advice to everyone, walk the way that suits you, find the stride you are comfortable with and push just a little beyond that, but not to the point of exhausting yourself too soon, or injuring yourself. I have been an avid walker for 3 years now, and I love to walk. It is my hour to myself, my thinking time, my sorting things out in my head time, my finding time to speak to a higher power time. But most importantly, it is my chosen form of exercise and I have to focus on getting heatlhy and staying injury free. So everyone do what is best for your body.
  • LCERTUCHE
    I never could walk very fast but now I've learned to take shorter, quicker steps it is much easier. Walking is a challenge for me because of degenerative joint disease and old injuries but I am walking much more now. The more weight that comes off the easier and farther I can walk. Some days I still can't stay on my feet long but the days I can I really push it to the max.
  • LEEGYRL
    For a website that's supposed to motivate, today's article failed miserably. I'm 25 pounds into my 75 pound weight loss goal. I've been so proud of myself for reaching a 25 minute mile, during which I am in the medium to high portion of my heart rate range. Learning that this pace doesn't even fit into the "slow to moderate" category is quite disheartening.
  • Good information. I am 5' tall with short legs (I hate that part), so the speed listed isn't accurate for me. I am walking very fast at 3 mph and need to break into a jog at 3.5. Still, the reminders about posture are good as I am working to improve mine overall.
  • I am a long time walker. I still learned things from the article I did not previously know and was refreshed on others. Good article.

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