If you've entered the annual Blisters for Bread Charity Walk in Cape Town this weekend, Ceri Hannan, the national exercise manager of Virgin Active has a few tips to ensure a comfortable walk on the day.
Walk heel to toe and not flat footed to increase speed;
Contact the ground with your heel;
Roll your foot over the centre of your foot;
Push off with your toes.
Move those hips
Rotate your hips backwards and forwards as you walk twisting your waist. This may look and feel a little awkward at first, but you’ll notice that restricted hip movements decreases your speed.
Swing your arms
Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle with your hands relaxed. Swing your arms backwards and forwards but keep them close to your body. Speeding up your arm swinging will increase your speed and your legs will automatically follow.
Neck and back support
Do not tense up your neck whilst walking. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed at all times. Keep your head upright with your eyes focus ahead.
Do not over-stride
A common mistake for beginners when trying to increase their speed is lengthening their stride. Over striding is inefficient and can slow you down. Instead of taking bigger strides, concentrate on a powerful push off while the front foot lands closer to the body. This is what elite walkers do.
The most important thing to remember on the day is to enjoy yourself, take in the scenery and pat yourself on the back all the way - you’re doing a wonderful thing for charity.
(Press release, August 2010)