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Walk for Exercise: A Better Way to Burn Calories

10/25/2010 11:39 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

According to research, walking is the most adhered form of exercise and the leading form of exercise for weight loss. As you get started on your walking program, focus on the following five points of posture. They will help reinforce your posture and improve your alignment. The old song, "Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes" should be your mantra while walking--and throw in belly since it's there!

1. Head Position. Keep your eyes looking forward but slightly down. Keep your chin parallel to the ground and the base of your head over your tailbone.

2. Chest. Keep your arms swinging along your sides and your chest open, with your collar bones and sternum lifted slightly.

3. Abdominals. Walk tall while drawing your belly button into your spine. All this requires is a slight engagement (flexing) of your core (the center of your body). This position keeps your pelvis from tipping forward and helps you avoid lower back strain.

4. Knees. While walking, many people rest through the knee joint, making the knee bow slightly backward in a curved position. Instead, keep tension in your thighs by slightly drawing your kneecap upward when you walk. If this is difficult at first, practice it while standing.

5. Toes. Make sure your toes point forward in your walking alignment. Even if your feet seem to naturally turn outward, you have the power to keep your toes pointed forward. Your muscles have probably been trained to angle outward due to tight hip flexors from sitting long periods or overuse of forward motion cardio like walking or running. When your heel lands in front, make sure the toes are pointing forward. Think of your toe positions like a car with alignment issues: It will run, but unless corrected, eventually it will give you some problems.

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