When John Cleese paced across the floor in Monty Python’s “Department of Silly Walks,” there was no end to the ways he could think of to perambulate.
But when it comes to getting in your 10,000 steps a day — an essential building block of your good health — there really is a right way to put one foot in front of the other, and a whole lot of wrong ways. And making those missteps can discourage you from getting the physical activity you need. So here’s a step-by-step guide to walking wise:
1. Don’t overextend your stride. It may seem like fun, but stretching your stride puts pressure on your shins, throws off your balance and risks injury. Better way: Keep your head level (don’t bounce up and down) and your body centered. Push off your back leg for power.
2. Roll through your step. Make each step a rolling motion from heel to toe; avoid flat-footed strides. Good equipment: You’ll need well-cushioned, well-heeled, flexible-soled shoes that bend at the ball of the foot.
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3. Let your arms help you. Bend arms 45 to 90 degrees and let them swing naturally with each step. Beware: No flapping chicken wings!
4. Chin up; look ahead about 10-20 feet. You’ll be able to clearly see your path while maintaining good posture -- so important for proper breathing and muscle tone. Engage your core, too, so you support yourself using your pelvic and stomach muscles.
Now grab your step counter and a walking buddy. You’re hitting your stride!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.