You think you know how to walk, don’t you? Well, we have news for you – you almost certainly don’t!
You may have been taught to play a great backhand in tennis or to perfect your golf swing, but there’s a chance nobody has ever taught you how to walk correctly. Quite simply, the vast majority of us walk wrong. We use the wrong muscles, in the wrong way and at the wrong time – and we lose out on the amazing body benefits of walking, potentially causing ourselves all sorts of physical problems while we’re at it.
Walkactive is an active way to radically change your body, your health, your fitness, your mind – your entire life – for good. It will teach you how to put one foot in front of the other so that – literally with every step – your body is toning up, elongating, growing fitter, slimmer, trimmer, more elegant and better aligned. It is going to show you – in four simple stages – how to work your whole body, from the deep internal connective tissues outwards. Absolutely anyone, regardless of their body shape, ability, age, life stage or fitness level can Walkactive.
The Walkactive system will teach you to:
unravel the wrong movement pattern – identify what you’re doing wrong and switch off those wrong muscle groups
create the correct movement pattern – switch on the correct muscle groups, using them in the right way and at the right time
embed your technique – practice so that your new correct movement pattern becomes second nature
To master Walkactive you will need to practice the Technique Walks. Block out ten or fifteen minutes, ideally three times per day, every day. During these sessions, you are going to practise working on each of the main four body parts (feet, hips, neck and shoulders, arms), one at a time, until you’ve mastered all of them.
Aim: to stop passive foot strike and achieve an active foot and open ankle.
Payoff: improves balance; kick-starts correct alignment into the knee and so helps to protect your joints; jump-starts your body-shape change as you start using the correct muscles.
At this point you should try not to worry about anything other than how your feet are moving:
Be aware of the various foot parts
Roll the foot
Soften the foot
Spread the foot
Aim for active toes
Be aware of your heel strike
Aim for “open” ankles
Aim: to stop slumping into your hips; to achieve hip stability without rigidity; to start to feel a hip lift.
Payoff: you’ll continue improving your knee and hip alignment and this will reduce the impact on your joints; you’ll start to tighten your lower abdominal muscles, trimming your torso; your bottom will start to lift, tighten and work properly; if you have back problems, your pain will be minimised; you’ll notice that you can go faster.
How to do it:
Imagine glasses of water on your hips
Focus on your abdominal muscles
Neck and Shoulders
Aim: to achieve symmetry through the torso.
Payoff: combats poor posture, especially slumped shoulders and rounded back; reduces tension in the upper back and helps mobility of shoulders, upper back and neck; achieves length and softness through the neck and upper body without looking stiff and tense; opens and softens shoulders, helping you to achieve correct back alignment; starts to get your body in the right position to whittle your waist as you walk.
How to do it:
Imagine dangly earrings
Try to relax
Keep the rhythm
Aim: to achieve correct shoulder-girdle mobility; to get the arms to move like flowing pendulums as you walk.
Payoff: your back, neck and shoulders will start to love you as they become more agile; you’ll enjoy better shape and tone in your chest and arms; you’ll lay the foundations for significantly reducing back fat.
How to do it:
Imagine a pendulum
Introduce a slight bend at your elbows
Notice your swing
Once you have practiced and mastered each of these techniques, you’re ready to put everything together and give it a go – you’re ready to Walkactive!
[The above is an extract from Joanna Hall’s Walkactive Programme]