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5 exercises to help you walk faster and for longer

After working with seniors to improve their ability to walk and run for the last 13 years, there are 2 major factors that affect your ability to walk faster and further. Ageing often gets blamed but the key reason why is we walk slower and for less distance is that as aches and pain start to set in, we start to move less, resulting in muscles getting weaker and your balance reduces due to lack of practice.

Weakness and improved balance can be trained and I will share with you the top 5 Pilates exercises to help you walk faster and for longer distance.

1.Bridging – This exercise strengthens your major buttock muscles, the Gluteus Maximus, which is important for keeping your body up straight and is one of your major propulsion muscles. If this muscle doesn’t work properly, you are unable to push off properly, stand on one leg without falling  or walk up and down hills.

  • Lie on your back, with both knees bent.
  • Lift your bottom up and hold for 3 sec, then lower the bottom down.
  • Repeat for 8-10 times twice a week.

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2. Calf strength – The calf muscles are important for propulsion and one of the major stabilizing muscles of the foot. Weakness of these muscles means slower reaction to the change in surface or uneven xanax buy ground.

  • Stand up next to the wall, hands up against the wall for balance.
  • Lift your heels up to come up onto your toes and hold for 5 seconds, then lower the heels down.
  • Repeat for 10-15 times, twice to three times a week.

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3. Squats – Quadriceps (the muscles at the front of the thighs) are extremely important muscles for walking, getting up and down off the ground and being able to walk up and down hills.

  • Stand with your back to the wall, with your feet out away from the wall about 30 centimetres.
  • Lower your body down, until your knee are bent to about 45 deg, keeping your back against the wall.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and then return up.
  • Repeat 10 times twice to three times a week.

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4. Practicing heal-toe walking – As your balance worsens, you will notice that your walking stance becomes wider and the steps become smaller. Although this stance may feel safer and more normal if your balance is poor, it means your ability to react to uneven ground is slower and the requirements from the muscles around the hips increases.  You can practice walking in a narrower stance and improve.

  • Find a line on the ground, for example on the footpath or the edge of a carpet.
  • Practice walking with one foot in front of the other foot.
  • It may seem impossible at the start, but you will improve and you will soon be able to do it with your eyes closed.
  • Perform this exercise for two minutes, two to three times a week.

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5. Standing on one leg – This may seem very scary at the start, but it can be done safely and effectively and is a very important skill to master for balance. When you walk you spend 80% of your time standing on one leg, so it is a very important skill to have.

  • Stand in a door frame and hold onto the door frame with your hands. This will give you support.
  • Lift one leg off the ground, and then let go of one hand, then the other hand (but keep them close to the door frame for support if needed.
  • Start by maintaining this one legged stance for 5 sec, then 10 seconds when confident.
  • You can also slowly take your hands further away from the door frame as you become more confident.

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As your muscles get stronger and your balance improves, you’ll be surprised how much faster and easier you walk, without even thinking about it.

Senior’s Discounts!

Our Seniors Pilates Program provides discounted sessions for 60+ members during the hours of Mondays to Thursdays 11am-4pm and Fridays 11am-2pm. To know more about our Seniors Pilates program, click here.

Opening Hours: Mondays – Thursdays from 7am-9pm; Fridays and Saturdays 7am-2pm.

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Want to know more?

If you want more information or would like to book for a FREE full body assessment with one of our Physiotherapists or Exercise Physiologists, call us on 9857 0644 or email us atadmin@mdhealth.com.au.

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We provide our Pilates program (to address aches, pains and injuries) to clients located in and around East Kew, Kew, Balwyn, Hawthorn, Malvern, Camberwell, Doncaster East, Templestowe, Lower Templestowe, Ivanhoe, Bulleen, Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Clifton Hill, Hawthorn East, Mont Albert and more!

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Kew East, VIC 3102
Australia
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