HEALTHY LIVING
09/01/2011 08:07 am ET Updated Nov 01, 2011

What Is Walk-ilates?

Walk-ilates may sound like another fitness fad, but it's actually a system designed to improve one of our most basic functions: walking. Ellie Herman, creator of the Walk-ilates concept, came up with the class to improve gait, something people often don't realize isn't up to par. "When the MBT shoes came out, I wanted people to get something out of using them," says Herman. "That shoe was sort of why I started Walk-ilates -- the shoes let people feel what I'm telling them to feel when changing their gait," she explains.

So what's wrong with the way we walk? "The most common thing is that people sit a lot, and as a result their hip flexors tighten and your glutes and hamstrings stop working as well," she says. "The glutes are the most important muscles in stabilizing your pelvis when you walk. If they're weak, the problem of tight, short hip flexors continues to be exacerbated."

Walk-ilates focuses on two main concepts: rolling out your tight muscles on a foam roller and rebalancing lower body muscles like the glutes and hamstrings. Herman gave us a sample routine to test out the program, which has five segments. You'll need a Pilates mat, a magic circle and an elastic band. For added results, she suggests trying the routine in the MBT shoes, as it will give you a bigger balance challenge.