Walking

Rotate your trunk as you walk.

Emphasizing the twist of the upper body as you walk can help to maintain forward momentum and mobility. A good way to do this is to make sure each arm is driving directly forward as you stride, rather than staying still or swinging across your body. Twist your shoulders as you walk to increase the range of each arm swing.

Neutralize the pelvis, especially when walking up hills.

When the effort of walking increases, such as when going up hills or increasing pace, the body recruits the muscles it is most familiar with. For most of us, these will be the muscles that arch our lower back. The body’s recruitment of these can lead to the back arching and the pelvis tipping forward, which can lead to tension in these areas. It can be useful to consciously engage other muscles in the region that help to share the load by reducing the arch in the back. The Drawing In exercise can help you to engage these muscles while you walk, and practicing the Standing Pelvic Tilt exercise can help you to adjust the pelvic position.

Breathe diaphragmatically.

As oxygen requirements increase, the body will recruit the muscles of the neck and shoulders to lift the ribs in order to assist with breathing. While this is a normal physiological adaptation, it can lead to tension and immobility in the region. Emphasizing the use of the diaphragm while walking can reduce the work of breathing and the development of tension in the shoulders, mid-back, and neck. Perform the Diaphragmatic Breathing exercise to practice this.

Engage the legs and feet as you walk.

Consciously engaging the muscles in the hips, legs, and feet can also help to take the load off of irritable structures. To engage the glutes and hamstrings, imagine pushing the ground back behind you as you stride. Imagine the ground is a belt on a treadmill, and you are trying to push the belt back with your feet as you walk.

To engage the feet and toes, first try to limit the force with which your heel strikes the ground. A good way to do this is to try to walk more quietly, without fully walking on your tiptoes. As you stride through, push off using the ball of your foot and use your toes to grip the ground, as if you were walking in sand.

Practice.

There are a lot of tips here, so it will take some time for you to work them into your gait and for them to feel normal. Use the things that help you, and don’t worry if it looks silly when you first start, it will become smoother with practice.