Walk This Way: Tips for Better Form

Get your form right to get the most out of your walk

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Medically reviewed in June 2021

One of the many great things about walking is that everyone knows how to do it. But if it's your main way to exercise, a few form tweaks will help you burn extra calories.

Body
Stand up straight, as if a string is pulling your spine upward. Don't lean forward as if you're heading into a stiff breeze.

Eyes
Look straight ahead, not down at your cool new shoes.

Arms
Relax your shoulders, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and move them back and forth (not across your chest) as you walk. This helps propel you forward and gives your arms a light workout. Don't bring your hands up near your face or develop a punching motion; just drive your elbow back at waist height.

Hands
Keep hands relaxed, in a loose fist (don't clench or flap them around).

Legs
Your stride should feel right to you. It won't feel fluid if your steps are too short or too long. Aim for a smooth, rhythmic, natural pace.

Feet
Once you hit your natural stride, your foot will roll from heel to toe. Then think about pushing off with your toes -- it helps you walk faster and burn more calories.

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