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Walking Well After Lockdown: How to Feel More Confident?

Are you feeling unsteady on your feet now that you’re going out more? Do you feel that your balance isn’t as good as it was a few months ago? Would you like to feel more confident when you’re out walking?

Our Studio members have told us that they are finding walking to be harder than expected, now that they are going out more. They are less confident about walking (especially on uneven ground) and more worried about falling than they were before.

There’s enough to worry about right now, and I want to help you enjoy being out and about more. Read on if you want to feel confident, steady on your feet and avoid trips and falls.

Why Are You Feeling Unsteady?

Even if you’ve been doing some exercises at home and going out for walks, it’s probably not as much activity as you would have done before. All that incidental activity – walking round the shops, going to meet someone for coffee, etc. – all adds up to much more movement than you realise.

Does It Matter If You Feel Unsteady?

Feeling steady in your steps is one of the most important things when you go out for a walk.

You want to feel confident and have the energy to do various activities. You also need to do as much as you can to avoid trips, falls, and broken bones.

Walking Well: Good Posture

Why does posture matter so much when you walk?

With poor posture, you tend to stoop or bend forwards. When you do so, it affects your centre of gravity, making you less balanced and more likely to fall.

Before you set off, imagine there’s a string pulling you up through the top of your head. Try to maintain this sensation as you’re walking. I promise, every time you think about it, you will be able to pull up taller!

Wherever possible, look straight ahead. Looking out in front helps to keep you upright and maintain your posture. Only look at the ground if it’s very uneven and you need to watch your step more carefully.

When to Be More Careful

There are some situations where it’s a good idea to pay extra attention to how you’re walking to keep yourself safe. If you really struggle with your balance in these situations, then think about avoiding them or using extra precautions (e.g., using handrails or perhaps a walking aid).

Most likely, it’s just a matter of awareness and you need to take a bit more care. Such times include:

  • When you’re tired, as your reactions will be slower.
  • When you’re walking with other people, as talking to them takes some of your attention away from walking well.
  • When there’s lots of noise and visual distraction (people, cars, children on scooters, etc.), as it’s harder to focus on your balance.
  • When walking on uneven ground, e.g., in the park or on bumpy paving stones.
  • When going up and down kerbs and steps.

Think about your posture and about walking well in these situations, and you will feel more confident and be less likely to trip and fall.

One Thing You Can Do Every Day

Doing a few minutes of exercise every day is the best thing you can do to improve your walking confidence and reduce your risk of falls.

Strength and balance exercises will help to build up your muscles so you can feel steadier on your feet. Even a few minutes most days will start to make a difference and help you to improve your balance.

Below is an exercise you can do at home to improve your balance. It’s called the Toe Balance Walk and is popular with members of our online exercise Studio.

If you enjoyed this exercise and would like more support to exercise at home, The Vida Wellness Studio is a good resource and comes with a professional instructor and the support of a friendly community.

Have you noticed any difference in your steadiness and posture when venturing out these days? Has lockdown caused your body to forget to walk with confidence? Which of these walking tips do you think you will try first? Let’s have a conversation!

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The Author

Over the last 16 years, Claudine has helped hundreds of people to improve their balance, feel stronger and move more easily. That's why her in-person classes and online programmes have been featured globally, including on BBC Radio 4. Members of her online exercise studio enjoy an extensive library of easy-to-follow videos, as well as advice and support. Try some taster videos from the Vida Wellness Studio.

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