3 Tips to Get More Out of Walking

by Fitbie
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3 Tips to Get More Out of Walking

If you have bad knees, are new to exercise, or simply hate running, all is not lost—give walking a try. “Walking activates nearly every muscle in the body and it’s a great cardiovascular option for people looking for low impact, moderate intensity workouts,” says Holly Perkins, CSCS, a New Balance fitness ambassador. But don’t just throw on some sneakers and go for a stroll around the block. To get the most effective workout from walking, you need to practice proper form. Follow these three walking principles to get the most out of your walk:

Take shorter strides at a faster pace. “Stride is unique to each person, but it’s often much shorter than you’d expect,” says Perkins. “If your stride is longer than necessary, you will begin to displace hips.” To find your ideal stride, test out longer and shorter stride lengths until you find the distance where your hips do not displace and swing. How will you know you got it right? The proper stride will feel nearly effortless, and you should feel your glutes working.

Foot Strike 
To nail proper foot strike, pay attention to which part of your foot hits when it first touches the ground, explains Perkins. “You want the outer edge of your heel to touch down first. Then, as your body moves forward, you should naturally roll over the foot, through the arch and then off the toes.” Don’t actively push off from the toes—allow the foot to roll with toes leaving the ground last. Watch this fitness walking demo to see what she means.

 Walk with a long, tall spine. “Imagine standing up straight and extending your head towards the sky,” suggests Perkins. This will allow your body to move with proper mechanics, which helps support your hips and spine, while also causing your core and abs muscles to activate. Check in with your body every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure you are standing tall and drawing your core muscles inward, she says.

Ready to pick up the pace, focus on your footing, and walk a little taller today? Tell us about your latest workout walk in the comments below!

About the Author


msn-fitbie-logoThis article originally appeared on Fitbie.com. Fitbie is a diet and fitness destination for everyone, whether you’re looking to lose 10 pounds or run a marathon. Our eating tipsworkout advice and healthy dose of fitness humor seek to inspire you to reach the next level on your fitness journey. Follow Fitbie on TwitterFacebookPinterest, or Instagram.


31 responses to “3 Tips to Get More Out of Walking”

  1. Avatar Heather Ferrel says:

    I wish I knew about this earlier before I spent money for a class to teach me how to do it right. Good information here. I am now walking 2 miles a day with little problems. Although I don’t know why I have sore’s on the bottom of my toes, maybe some help with that? My fellow walkers/ runners. Please and thank you.

    • Avatar Amiga001 says:

      I have to put vaseline on and between my toes to prevent blisters.
      it works

    • Avatar Walker says:

      Try using Thorlo Merino Wool socks. Sores come for moisture and friction on the same part of foot. These socks wick away moisture, and eliminate friction of socks rubbing on foot with their unique design.

      Also may need to buy new shoes eg. Look at Merrill minimalist shoes which don’t have a raised heel.

    • Avatar Chaz says:

      Possibly your shoe size? Could even be the type of sock.

  2. Avatar Carrie says:

    Great article

  3. Avatar EiramAnna GB says:

    this is helpful, i have a short but fast stride. I agree with you that walking in a proper posture [not stiffened, but walking tall, something like “you are balancing some book on your head” feels good to me.
    Since I started walking again about 2 weeks i have increased the length [from 3km, i am now reached 5km; and because of that i have 4.4lbs…its a great achievement for me!

  4. […] 3 Tips to Get More Out of Walking via Hello Healthy. You guys know I’m a huge fan of walking, and it can be a great workout with a few tricks and tweaks! […]

  5. Avatar msmavis says:

    I love the tips about walking because that is my main type of exercise. I had begun to take shorter steps at a faster pace and it felt better. I have Plantar Fascitis in my right foot, which is the clinical name for “no arch”, so I have to stop after each lap and do foot exercises until the pain subsides. I am also a heart patient and doctors suggested that I walk for my heart health. Walking works for me! Thanks for the helpful tips.

  6. Avatar Sally Engleby Farrell says:

    I love, love, love my daily walks! I am up to five miles a day and can’t miss it or I get a little stir crazy! I download books onto my phone and go go go! These are all great tips, especially the shorter strides. That surprised me. I’ll be fixing that tomorrow. Will be looking for tips about walking in the winter as I am in NY and the snow often stops me from going out. Thanks!

    • Avatar Stacey says:

      Shopping malls are great for winter walking. Or maybe if you are in an area where you go snowshoeing.

    • Avatar CalistogaKid says:

      I don’t know if my other comment will ever be approved because I posted a direct link but try Stablicers Lite from L.L. Bean. They’re only about $22, free shipping and guaranteed for life. I never like anything short of a blizzard or hurricane to keep me from my walk and I’ve never slipped once wearing these. Even on ice or hard packed snow.

  7. Avatar judy says:

    Heather is it possible that there is too much room in the toe box of your shoe or that they are too long or too wide. That could mean that your toes are gripping the bottom of your shoes and causing blisters. Just a thought.

    • Avatar Venus says:

      Judy, thanks for the suggestion to Heather. I sometimes have the same problem and never thought it could be a shoe that is too big. it’s especially timely for me since I’m in the process of shopping for new walking shoes.

  8. Avatar Guest says:

    I’ve been walking on the treadmill for the past week comfortably on the speed of 3.7, sometimes 3.5. I’ve tried to jog at 4.0 but looked silly and felt like I was wrong and felt embarrassed with myself. I’ve ran/ fast jog before, feeling confident, and was out of breath in less than 30 seconds! I know it’ll take some time but I’m ready to comfortably jog then run. Any suggestions?? Help?!

    • Avatar Bojangle Cumbersnatch says:

      Baby steps. Bring your walking to the pace where you would consider it brisk, then transition to a slow jog . Don’t worry about how it looks.

  9. Avatar Serendipity says:

    I have been walking for fitness on a treadmill since March and now I have very painful plantar fasciitis. Is there something about my stride or my walk that would cause this? Should I walk through it?

    • Avatar Funrider says:

      I have had similar issues in the past – but it seems like if I make sure to do the “runner’s stretch” for each leg after I walk (which is extending one leg as far behind me as I can keeping my heel on the floor – with the other leg bent at about 45 degrees with my knee not extending past my toe) my heel pain has gradually subsided. With regular walking on the treadmill I’ve lost a little weight – which has also seemed to make the plantar fascitis completely subside. I no longer have heel pain at all. Good luck & I hope this helps!

  10. Avatar Eva Gallant says:

    I went for a walk for the second time today, and my hips were aching. The first day I went, my hips ached at the beginning but the ache went away after a bit. Now I’ll pay attention to my stride to avoid pain going forward. Thanks for the tips.

  11. Avatar Tom M says:

    Help.I have been retired for 3 years now and have done nothing to stay healthy.I have gained over 70 Lbs. and lost all muscle tone so I find any walking difficult.If anyone has ideas on how to get moving slowly and regaining my mobility I would be forever grateful

    • Avatar Robyn Wilson says:

      try water exercise- cushions the body and the resistance is great.

    • Avatar Rachelwin says:

      Hi Tom, I was a mess when I started walking a couple of months ago. (100 + lbs overweight and very out of shape.) it was very painful to even walk around the block. (Back spasms, leg cramps, etc.). My method was pretty simple… First, I got some great insoles, which helped with the back. Then, I would basically walk until I felt a lot of pain, at which point I turned around and hobbled home. The first couple of weeks were HARD, but eventually, it started to get easier. Now I can walk for a couple of miles with minimal pain.

      • Avatar Amy G. says:

        Yes, I agree with this. The first week or so can be tough, but if you make yourself get out there and get it done, it WILL get better. Start slow and add on a little each day… even if you start out with 5 or 10 minutes. Just build on that. You’ll make progress. I promise. (I’m down to 314 pounds and now walk 5K distance pretty easily.)

  12. Avatar Junekath36 says:

    I am 78 and started fitness pal in May, have lost 22lb and more. I started walking every morning before 7 am. At first out of breath – now I am addicted, I really think walking is addictive. I keep quite busy but my walk is about 3.5 miles and often I go out twice a day if I have nothing in my schedule as I get itchy feet (not literally, just a saying in the UK about being bored) and I go out the door in the opposite direction to the morning and do at 40 mins. I do try now and perhaps try and run for about 1 min in between walking but at times find it dificult as I have osteoathrities osteoporosis and psuedo gout – so you are all right – I tell everyone – there is no good saying I have arthritis I cannot go far – you can if you really want to. I have never felt fitter and can honestly say I am on a lot less pain killers. Fitness Pal has changed my life this year – 2 sizes smaller up to yet and much, much fitter. Thank you.

    • Avatar Deborah Thom says:

      Walking can actually help reduce the pain from arthritis … the worst thing that one can do is stop moving because of the pain. I have lots of pain in my hips from arthritis and it almost disappears when I walk regularly… keep it up 🙂

  13. Avatar techgator2 says:

    I walked three miles a couple days ago. I have some arthritis in my feet and the toes on my right foot were killing me yesterday. Your suggestion about not pushing off with your toes now makes sense. I will check my stride going forward – no pun intended. Thanks.

  14. Avatar Sharon says:

    Can any one tell me how long it takes to progress

  15. Avatar F H says:

    I recently read that while walking, jog between driveways; any thoughts?

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