There are many interesting dimensions related to safe walking. Here at Circulate San Diego, we generally focus on how to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians and on how, as active transportation users, we can be more aware and move safely in the city.
But we also keep an eye out for other considerations that maximize the benefits of walking for people in San Diego. This is why on May 24th, as part of our Walk + Bike Chula Vista program, Circulate invited Dr. Todd Martin to come walk with us and talk to participants about proper walking techniques, and particularly the ideal walking posture and position. Dr. Martin is Physician Director for Outpatient Quality and Complete Care Management at Southern California Permanente Medical Group. The posture and technique Dr. Martin advocates for have been proven to prevent and reduce chances of chronic pains and joint problems as we get older. Here are some of the tips he revealed for good walking technique:
Feet orientation: Take a minute to look down at your feet and their orientation. Are they pointing inward, straight or toward the outside? Most people tend to walk with their feet at an angle. However, to prevent chronic pain and make sure we get to walk for a long time, our toes should be pointing straight ahead. Get those toes in line!
Basin and hips: The secret to good posture and a straight back often starts with the hip and pelvic bones. Our sedentary lifestyles often leads us to slouch or stick out our rear-end, which can cause back pain and other problems. To adopt a good walking technique, it is important to squeeze your glutes and bring your pelvic bone forward to correct any un-natural curvatures of your spine.
Straight back: Another common habit that can cause chronic problems is the tendency to lean forward or backward when we walk. This is particularly the case when we’re carrying bags. Ideally, we should try to keep our back as straight as possible when we walk.
Walking is a pleasure that can be hindered by the environment around us as well as our own physical limitations. Here at Circulate, we firmly believe that we can do something about both of these issues. So next time you go out for a stroll, pay attention not only to your surroundings but to your own body!