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Improve your walking with stronger legs and hips.
Walking is a simple, low-risk way to get exercise, providing numerous health benefits including lower blood pressure, increased energy and stamina, improved cholesterol levels and weight management, according to ACE Fitness. Walking might seem easy and automatic, but in reality it takes complex coordination involving your legs and hips to achieve locomotion. If you're recovering from an injury or just beginning an exercise routine after swearing off couch-potato habits, strengthening your legs and hips can prepare you for this activity.1.
Lie on your right side, resting your head on a pillow or bolster. Keep your legs stacked together with your knees slightly bent. Rest your left hand on your left hip with your elbow slightly bent. Keeping your left foot pressing into the floor, slowly lift the leg in a вЂњclamshellвЂќ movement until your left knee points toward the ceiling. Hold for five seconds, and then slowly lower back down. Switch to repeat on the other side. To increase strength building, try this exercise with an exercise band wrapped around your thighs to increase resistance. You can also try lifting your left leg until it's parallel with the floor before slowly lowering.2.
Complete a yogic bridge pose to strengthen your hips for walking by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet pressing into the ground. Exhale, and then inhale to slowly lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders firmly pressed into the ground and your arms resting alongside your body, palms down. Keep your core and gluteus muscles engaged to press your hips a bit higher, holding for five seconds. Slowly lower down to the ground, hugging your knees to your chest to release through your low back.3.
Use lunges to develop leg strength by standing tall with your legs and feet together, according to Duke University. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, step back with your left foot and bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle directly over your right ankle. Hold for five seconds, breathing deeply. Then step the left foot forward to meet your right foot. Switch to repeat on the other side. You can also try walking lunges by taking large steps, positioning your front knee directly over your ankle and pausing briefly before taking another step.4.
Build quad strength by lying on your back with your right knee bent and your right foot pressing into the floor. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms pressing into the floor. Slowly lift your left leg until you reach a 45-degree angle with the floor. Hold for five seconds, and then slowly lower. Switch to repeat on the other side. You can place folded towels or pillows behind your head or behind your extended leg for extra support.