How to Walk: Dos and Don’ts, Plus Tips
Your spine should be straight, with ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over knees, says certified group fitness instructor Michele Stanten.
Your arms should be bent at 90 degrees and swing back and forth (not across the body) from the shoulders. Your legs will naturally move in sync, so the faster you swing, the faster you’ll walk. A foolproof tip: Hang a bathrobe belt around your neck, and hold one end in each hand, says Stanten. If you’re walking correctly, the straps will stay firmly in place, not slide up and down your neck or from side to side.
Your feet should land heel first with each step. You should then roll through the foot and push off with your toes. “Show me the sole of your shoe at the end of every stride,” says public-health and transportation consultant Mark Fenton. If you hear a slap-slap when your foot lands, you’re landing too abruptly, rather than rolling smoothly.
Find the right walking routine for you—to lose weight, get heart-healthy, or just chill out—plus scenic and challenging routes in the 10 most walkable U.S. cities.