Having back pain and aches can be a frustrating ailment to deal with. In addition, it can be a challenge to nail down the root cause of these aches and pains. What if your pain could be addressed by adjusting something simple that you do every day?
It’s probably pretty rare that you might think about the way you walk. However, how you walk and the posture you have while doing it could be affecting more than you think.
What is the Correct Posture for Walking?
Whether you think you have perfect posture while walking or you think you have some room to grow, there are several best practices to consider for good walking posture. Some things to keep in mind for correct posture include:
Stand straight up. When walking, you should stand straight up, with your back perpendicular to the ground.
Keep your eyes forward. Keep your eyes up and look ahead when walking. This will direct where your head, and therefore your spine, fall in line.
Keep your chin parallel to the ground. Having your eyes forward should help this, but also be mindful of where your chin is. Is it tilted way down or way up? Ensuring it is parallel to the ground will also help spinal alignment.
Engage the core. While this one may sound like a lot of effort on your end, it might be easier than you think. You can tell you are doing this properly by placing your hands in between the bony parts of your pelvis. If the muscle tenses under your fingers, then you are engaging your core.
Swing your arms… a little. Allow your arms to swing naturally as you walk, making a conscious effort to not stop them or force them to swing violently.
What is Bad Posture?
While there are several items to be trying to do while working towards good posture, there are equally as many things to try not to do. Some actions to avoid while walking with good posture include:
Leaning forward or back. Excessive leaning to the front or the back can lead to poor posture while walking. Work to keep your back straight and to prevent leaning. Look in the mirror or ask a family member, if needed, to assess if you are doing this.
Overly tense shoulders. Beware that a potential first response to working toward good posture might be to tense up. Loosen your shoulders up a bit, especially if you find your shoulders by your ears. Overly tense shoulders can cause issues for your posture and even cause pain.
Arm swinging across the body. If you find that your arms are crossing your body while walking, try to correct that by driving them straight forward. This may take some active thinking on your part for a while, but eventually, it will become natural.
Slouching. If you find your shoulders far away from your ears and moving forward, you may be slouching a bit. If you find yourself doing this, push your shoulders back and ensure your chin and eyes are up.
What are the Benefits of Improving Posture?
Now that you know what good walking posture is, as well as poor walking posture, you will need to decide if you want to implement these practices in your daily life. It may sound like a good deal of work and thinking for something as simple as walking. However, working on your posture can pay off greatly! Some of the benefits of improving your walking posture can include:
Reduced pain. When you walk with proper posture, the stress and strain on your joints are lessened, which can reduce pain in problem areas such as back pain and neck pain.
Better digestion. Walking with good posture can also help with your digestion. Kara Griffith, an exercise physiologist, put it this way: “If you are compressing vital organs, your circulation is poor, and therefore organs aren’t going to work as well.”
Boost confidence. This can also boost confidence. When walking with good posture, you are walking upright and tall, which is a known booster of confidence.
Consult with a Professional
If you think you might have poor posture and need additional support in remedying the issue, then contact our practice today. Schedule an appointment with us online or call us to get started. We look forward to “walking” through this journey with you.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.