Many people who walk to get fit focus on how far they can walk, not how they walk. However, when people engage in other fitness activities they strive to do them as correctly as possible. You wouldn't go to the golf course only to see just how far you can hit the ball—the idea is to get it into the hole.
Shoes to wear is often the primary concern for walkers. Walkers believe that once they have found their optimal shoe they're set. Shoes are important, but the precise way your body moves as you go from point A to point B matters the most when it comes to walking. It's like the difference between gliding across the dance floor and doing the herky-jerky.
More: Walking for Weight Loss: 30-Minute Workout
One factor that can improve your walking, if done properly, is how to use your arms.
A Call to Arms
Some walkers let their arms dangle by their sides like strands of overcooked spaghetti. These people may be walking fast and hard, but without putting their arms to work they don't get much benefit from the waist up. Here's a fun fact: it's actually harder and more tiring to walk without swinging your arms.
More: Tips to Build Your Athletic Walking Technique
Other walkers swing their arms vigorously, making their bodies twist so much that they look like they're auditioning for American Bandstand in 1961. These people are propelling themselves forward with momentum, rather than using their legs as much as they should. Doing this lessens the toning benefits their hips and legs should be getting, and more seriously, it puts their backs and necks at risk for injury.
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Using your arms correctly boosts the toning and fat-burning benefits of walking, literally from head to toe. More than getting in shape, a good arm swing increases your energy and lessens joint and muscle strain. Especially in the legs, hips, back, and knees. Less strain means less chance of pain or injury.
More: 9 Ways to Stay Injury-Free