How to Walk - Taking a Walking Stride

Walking Stride - Overstriding and Correct Strides
Walking Stride - Overstriding and Correct Strides. Kzenon and Amickman/Depositphotos

When practicing a good walking stride, the first key is to avoid overstriding. This occurs when you take longer steps in an attempt to increase speed without running.

However, overstriding is a poor technique to increase speed and it has a potential to lead to injury in the long term. Research done on soldiers who had to march in cadence found that those who were shorter had much more stress on their lower leg joints when forced to overstride to match the step rhythm.

Lengthen Your Stride in Back

Lengthen the stride in back rather than in front to improve power and efficiency in your stride. The photo shows a typical overstriding walker at the top, with the foot far out in front of the body. The bottom photo is a correct walking stride with more length in back of the body.

Your stride should be longer behind your body, where your toe is pushing off, rather than out in front of your body. This is because your forward leg has no power, while your back leg is what is pushing you forward. You want to get the full power out of the push from the back leg, with the foot rolling through the step from heel to toe.

Practice Your Stride

Practice a correct walking stride by consciously keeping your rear foot on the ground longer with each step and giving a good push off. You will naturally place your forward foot closer to your body if you do this. This will retrain you away from overstriding.

While it may feel strange at first, as you get into a rhythm you will feel the power that you get from the rear foot.

Fast walkers train themselves to increase the number of steps they take per second and to get full use out of the back part of the stride. Instead of overstriding, take more, smaller steps to build speed.

A powerful stride using the rear foot to propel you can help you maintain good walking posture and works well with good walking arm motion.

Source:

Seay JF, Frykman PN, Sauer SG, Gutekunst DJ. "Lower extremity mechanics during marching at three different cadences for 60 minutes." J Appl Biomech. 2014 Feb;30(1):21-30. doi: 10.1123/jab.2012-0090. Epub 2013 Apr 1.

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