Walking and running are fun, inexpensive workouts that can put you in touch with the great outdoors. Avoid getting sidelined by focusing on your stride length, which is the distance covered between the spot where one foot hits the ground and the next time that same foot hits the ground again.
Keep Your Feet in Check
When you feel the need for speed, avoid taking big, loping strides. Over-striding can drain your energy, slow you down, and even put you at risk for stress injuries. On the flip side, if your run feels more like a choppy shuffle, you might be under-striding. Listen to your body and reassess when your stride feels unnatural.
Pro tip: When selecting footwear for optimal stride, look for neutral cushioning and a good, comfortable fit.
Take the Hills in Stride
While running downhill, try to shorten your stride lengths just a bit to lessen the impact. Focus on landing close to your body, turning your feet over faster and keeping your posture tall and stable. Follow these posture techniques for improving your stride and overall form.
- Hold your head up and look forward
- Move your shoulders naturally
- Cue your trunk to be tall and upright, like a flagpole
- Engage your stomach muscles
- Walk or run smoothly with a focus on control
Know When to Call the Doc
A faulty stride can lead to a host of ailments due to the body’s natural response to overcompensate. If pain triggered by walking or running persists longer than two weeks, it’s time to call your doctor to set up a physical therapy appointment.