Walking with “Good Form”

Wise Walker Badge, Step 2

Walking with proper form can help prevent injury and keep you walking well into the future. For Step 2 of the Wise Walker walking badge, we talked with an expert on physical fitness. We learned about the three things to keep in mind to make sure we have “good form” while walking and gathered tips for getting in more steps everyday. We documented our lesson on video so you can come along and learn with us.

If you are interested in the mental and physical health benefits of walking, ideas for walking more often, and fun facts about walking, check out this post from last week.

Earn the Wise Walker Badge

If you are interested in earning the Wise Walker Badge yourself, you can see the Journal Badge Guide, or “recipe” for the badge here. Each Badge Guide contains three steps to be completed in order to earn the badge. These steps can be done on your own, but we encourage you to grab a few friends and learn together!

Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one!

A Lesson on Walking with Good Form

On a nice spring day in April, we met up with T.J. Hall, a health educator at Michigan State University, on MSU’s beautiful campus. MSU’s campus is intersected by the Red Cedar River which provided a serene spot for our lesson on walking with good form. The increase in people taking advantage of outdoor activity due to being in coronavirus lockdown is evident behind us as a stream of walkers and bikers go past.

The three elements of good form walking that T.J. goes over were developed by the Playmakers Foundation and Running Store. The goals is to move in a way that feels light and easy.

Photo from Playmakers.com

Posture includes keeping your head level and eyes looking forward. Arms and shoulders should be relaxed and arms should be at your sides at a 90 degree angle. Feet should be pointing straight ahead.

Landing includes making sure your feet land softly using a soft heel roll. Walk with a quicker cadence to make sure you aren’t landing on your heel.

Lean involves using gravity to pull you forward. Lean forward from the ankles, not the waist.

We also discussed the benefits of walking right now as we are living in “lockdown” due to the global coronavirus pandemic. T.J. reminded us that walking is good for staying mentally resilient, keeping our immune system strong, and our stress levels low.

T.J. left us with a few tips for getting more walking into our daily lives including creating a culture of movement and activity in your household or family unit and finding small 10-minute increments of time to hop outside in whatever you are already wearing.

A recap of the 3 Points for Good Form Walking from Playmakers

For Step 3 of the Wise Walker Badge we took a walking challenge and engaged in some mindfulness walks. We’ll share more about this in our next post. 

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