What is good body position for walking?

Optimal body position for walking should be as followed: head looking straight ahead, ear canal lined up with the shoulders, hands at your side facing your body, arms allowed to fall against your trunk(they will swing back and forth as you walk) with a comfortable bend to the elbows, back straight; no leaning forward from the hips, knees should be positioned behind the laces of your shoes and should be slightly bent as you walk, feet should be pointing straight ahead and not twisting in or out when your foot hits the ground.

Before answering this question, I would like to briefly go over a few principles associated with function and walking.

Function is based on the individual: As it relates to walking, each individual will have similarities to what optimal posture is for walking (head up, chest up, feet forward etc.) and differences within their structure that will not make optimal possible. Which flows into each individual has different thresholds of success. 

Function is about how forces act within or at the body. How an individual's body deals with the impact of gravity, how their body position and structure creates more mass & momentum. 

Function is Three Dimensional, meaning all bones, joints, tissues in the body move and communicate in three dimensions.

What does all this mean? I believe there is no good or bad position for walking. There are infinite ways of walking as long as the individual can identify when they are purposefully changing their walking posture. A few good strategies to endure and sustain a walk comfortably is to purposefully change foot position (toes straight, toes out, toes in) - feel the different reactions that occur through your hips. Play with foot stride (long/short stride, wide/narrow stride) - once again feel the difference. Play with arm swings (exaggerated, swings across body, swings side to side) - feel the difference within your spine and how it relates to your hips.

The purpose is to understand there is no one way to walk for everyone. One walking posture usually leads to the body taking on to many forces all in the same area, that could lead to various pains and discomforts. If one wants to engage in a walking program, listen to your body's thresholds. If there is discomfort in one position, change it up in order to endure and sustain the walk.

Be sure when walking to follow these recommendations:

  • Stand tall with good posture, try to avoid slouching, especially when you get tired
  • Have your arms bent at about a 90 degree angle to help pump back and forth. You may on the occasion want to shake them out to allow for proper blood circulation
  • Stride within your comfort zone, do not try to over stride

Oh, have fun!

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