How to Walk Properly in 7 Easy Steps

Learning how to walk properly is easier than you think. Improve your walking technique by practicing these easy tricks.

Walking on its own can help you maintain optimal health. When done consistently, walking can boost your heart health, strengthen your bones, help you lose weight and much more.

Surprisingly, many of us don’t use the right technique when walking. Walking properly is more than just putting one foot in front of the other. Your posture—how you position your head, neck, shoulders and so on—determines your walking technique.

walking with weights

How to Walk Properly

Maintaining proper form will make walking more enjoyable and allow you to walk longer distances. Poor form, on the other hand, makes walking strenuous and increases your risk of injuries. Below are simple tips to improve your walking technique.

1. Look forward, and keep your neck properly aligned.

This may not happen naturally if you spend your day hunched over the computer. Therefore, make a conscious effort to look forward and keep your neck in its neutral position.

Avoid using your phone while walking. It keeps you in the hunched position, and using a phone while walking is a leading cause of pedestrian injuries.

2. Roll your shoulders back and down.

Rolling your shoulders forward puts pressure on your spine. Roll them back and then down.

Keeping your shoulders properly aligned will also make you appear more confident and allow you to swing your arms freely.

3. Swing your arms properly.

Swinging your arms can help you burn more calories during your walks. When walking for fitness, keep your arms bent at 90 degrees and then swing them forward and back.

If you’re not comfortable keeping your arms bent at 90 degrees while walking in public, it’s okay. Just keep them slightly bent and swing them from your shoulders, not your elbows. But if you’re walking on the treadmill, keep them bent at 90 degrees.

4. Keep your belly slightly sucked in.

The idea is not to make your belly appear flat. Sucking in your belly engages your core muscles, making it easier for you to maintain an upright posture.

Some people tend to hold their breath when they suck in their belly. Make sure you continue to breathe.

5. Roll your foot from heel to toe.

To walk efficiently and lower your risk of injury, land on your heels, roll your foot forward onto the ball of your foot and then use the big toe to push the foot off the floor. This technique can actually help loosen your calves when walking uphill.

However, don’t use the same technique when running. Landing on your heels can strain your ankles and knees.

There are situations when it’s okay to land on the ball of your foot and toes while walking,  like when you’re walking downhill or climbing the stairs.

6. Keep your hips properly aligned.

Some people extend their hips forward while others pull them back. Either of these puts unnecessary pressure on your spine and hip joint.

You may not know you have this problem until you look at yourself in the mirror or record yourself walking. Stand tall, and slightly suck in your belly to keep your hips properly aligned.

7. Make comfortable strides.

Taking long strides can increase your risk of injury. If you want to walk faster, take normal (comfortable) strides as fast as possible.

Is walking part of your daily routine? 

Images via Getty

54 comments

heather g
heather g9 days ago

I feel that I don't walk enough and particulates in the air lead to asthma. Difficult to avoid as I live downtown.

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Leanne K
Leanne K12 days ago

I walk every day, often up to ten kilometres. Thanks for the pointers

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Leanne K
Leanne K12 days ago

I've always wanted to know this. Thanks

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Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski14 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Shirley S
Shirley S15 days ago

All good advice. T Y

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Renata B
Renata B15 days ago

SPAM and SPAM: everywhere. I wonder why they always speak of a "mom": are mothers more stupid, or more unable to earn money? Weird. It seems to me offensive, if we can waste time on these spammers.

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Renata B
Renata B15 days ago

If I looked always ahead without a glimpse to the pavement I would trip over many times (I am prone to trip over and I have heard myself quite badly several times, with physiotherapy and so on). I am very careful now.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D15 days ago

Well I learned something new today...

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Kathy K
Kathy K16 days ago

Interesting. Thanks.

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Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace16 days ago

Thank you

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