Walking Tips From A Hiker|
Posture and Walking Advice
There is no better way to get in shape for walking than to, well, walk. You will find it easier if you establish some sort of routine, although you don't want to get so routine that your "daily routine" becomes anticipated drudgery. Mix it up a bit, hiking for 30 minutes one day, 15 the next, an hour the next. Whatever you do, walk every day, rain, snow or shine. I find it works best for me to fit in my walks around errands and commitments--I walk my two dogs every day for example. Before you instinctively pick up the keys to the car, think about whether you could walk. Instead of driving to the grocery store one mile distant, I shoulder a pack and walk--the clerks have become accustomed to me and stopped asking if I want paper or plastic. They simply load my pack. The bottom line ... enjoy yourself.
Posture is Power
If you think about how you walk and whether or not your body is in alignment, you will begin to minimize the opportunity for aches and pains to sneak up and bite you on the knee, back, ankle or neck. Your body was designed with balance in mind and if you somehow walk out of balance, you are placing added stress on the parts of your body that have to compensate in order to keep you upright. Use the following tips to keep your body in line and add more power to your step.
Contributed By: Michael Hodgson
- Upper body: Keep your chin up and eyes looking straight ahead down the trail. Your neck should be relaxed and your head centered between your shoulders. Keep your shoulders relaxed by lifting your chest--as if you are trying to fill your lungs with more air. Use your arms to maintain your balance by swinging them naturally close to your body. Stand tall with your abdomen pulled in slightly towards your back / spine.
- Lower body: Keep your hips loose and relaxed and watch that you do not lean forward at the waist, other than to compensate for the weight of a pack of course. Extend your legs as you head into each stride, but do not lock the knees.
Michael Hodgson is a an award-winning journalist and author of numerous books including Camping for Dummies, Compass and Map Navigator, and Facing the Extreme. He is a volunteer instructor for the American Red Cross, Nevada County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and was a former mountain guide. Michael is well-known for his sense of humor and eagerness to try anything once in the pursuit of a really good story. His friends remain amazed that he can still walk. He has partnered with his journalist-wife, Therese Iknoian, on four web sites: his own www.AdventureNetwork.com, plus www.GearTrends.com, www.TotalFitnessNetwork.com, and www.SNEWSnet.com