Would you like to feel more confident walking? Have you noticed that you walk more slowly or cautiously? Do you sometimes feel unsteady and find yourself tripping on uneven ground or broken paving stones?
If you’re starting to notice your balance when you walk, you’ll know that this can affect your enjoyment of walking.
As a specialist exercise instructor for more than 15 years, I’ve helped hundreds of people to feel steadier on their feet and more confident with their walking.
If you’re starting to notice your balance when you walk and would like to feel more confident, keep reading!
You probably learnt to walk 60 or 70 years ago and haven’t given it much thought since. It’s just something we do every day! So, thinking about how you walk is strange, and the idea of practising walking will seem quite odd.
However, if you don’t feel as steady as you used to, you will benefit from paying attention to how you walk.
Walking Well means thinking about our posture, about what our arms and legs are doing and where we are looking when we walk. This series of walking well articles and videos will help you (re)learn some of the things that help us walk confidently and safely.
When we feel confident walking, everyday life is easier and more enjoyable. We can get where we need to go, run errands we need to do and walk for pleasure.
We can enjoy our surroundings and companions because we aren’t worrying or feeling unsteady.
Walking well allows us to enjoy spending time with our friends and family, exploring new places and connecting with nature. It gets us out of the house and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
It matters because if we aren’t walking well, we’re at risk of trips and falls. The consequences of a trip or fall can range from bruised limbs (and confidence) to broken bones, time in hospital and surgery.
I also think it’s crucial for how we feel about ourselves. When we feel confident doing the things we want and need to do every day, we feel better about ourselves. We also tend to feel more optimistic about the future.
In previous articles and videos, I’ve covered several elements of walking (including posture and arms). Today, I’m going to focus on what we do with our feet when we walk.
I know that sounds funny; it’s obvious, right? We just put them on the ground! However, the way we place our feet on the ground can make a big difference to how well we walk.
Watch this demonstration video to learn more about foot placement when walking. Be ready to get up and practice with me!
Practice this now. You’ll notice how much more powerful your walking feels when you roll through your foot with the heel-toe motion.
Then, next time you’re out walking, try and remember to think about how your feet are landing and pushing off from the ground. You’ll feel more confident (and be much less likely to trip on uneven ground or broken pavements).
As well as paying attention to our walking technique, doing exercises to improve our strength, balance and posture will help us walk better.
We know that a combination of strength and balance exercises will help to improve our balance and reduce our risk of trips and falls. So, if you aren’t already doing so, consider adding regular strength and balance training to your routine.
Many people think that starting an exercise programme involves hours of leaping around in tight, shiny clothes while someone shouts at you. If that’s what you want, go for it! However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can get stronger and improve your balance in just 10-15 minutes a day. You get the best results when you’re doing exercises that are right for you (not ones designed for a 25-year-old who can do handstands!).
A good instructor will encourage you to work at the right pace for you and demonstrate the exercises clearly so you feel confident doing the exercises that will help you.
If you want help and support to exercise at home, take a look at the Vida Wellness Studio. It’s an online exercise studio for people who want to improve their balance and posture, feel stronger, and move more easily. Our videos are clear and easy to follow, and most of our routines are 10-15 minutes long, so you can easily fit them into your day.
Do you notice your balance when you walk? Have you ever considered concentrating on how you move your feet? Do you often trip on uneven ground? How does it feel when you practice this heel/toe motion? Join the conversation below!