Swinging your arms naturally as you walk is important for stability and to help propel you forward. Most people swing their arms slightly as they walk with the opposite arm and leg advancing at the same time. In fact, holding your arms straight to your side uses more energy than naturally swinging them.1 Focusing on moving your arms more while you walk can help propel you along more quickly and add benefit to your walking workout. Intentionally, but naturally, pumping your arms while you walk can increase the aerobic benefit of walking and develop muscle strength and control in your arms, chest, and back.2
Swing Your Arms AND Focus on Form
|Warm-up||Engage both upper and lower body, including neck, shoulders, and torso.|
|Arm-leg Coordination||Encourage a synchronous, natural up-and-back arm movement with advancing leg.|
|Elbow Position||Maintain a 90º bend for optimal swing speed and to prevent hand swelling.3|
|Hand Position||Hold fists gently, akin to cradling a fragile egg, to ensure a relaxed grip.3|
|Elbow Movement||Keep close to the body, emphasizing forward and backward motions, conserving energy.|
|Shoulder Movement||Initiate the swing from the shoulders, allowing for a stronger, effective motion.4|
|Hand Crossing||Steer clear of excessive hand crossing over the body’s center, keeping swings streamlined.4|
|Forward Hand Movement||Amplify the backward swing, making your hand reach towards the back pocket to enhance stride.5|
|Range of Motion||Maintain a comfortable swing range, avoiding forced movements and emphasizing natural fluidity.|
Practice this technique and you’ll soon be propelling yourself to new healthy heights.
- Meyns P, Bruijn SM, Duysens J. The how and why of arm swing during human walking. Gait & Posture. 2013;38(4):555-562. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.02.006.
- Wilson MA. Walking and arm pumping – a total body workout. Sit and Be Fit. https://www.sitandbefit.org/walking-arm-pumping/. Published October 25, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2023.
- Anderson D. How to walk with proper form and technique. SparkPeople. https://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1220. Published November 7, 2008. Accessed February 8, 2023.
- Harvard University. Perfecting your walking technique. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/perfecting-your-walking-technique. Published May 25, 2020. Accessed February 8, 2023.
- Bumgardner W. Why you should use an arm swinging motion to walk faster. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-walk-faster-arm-motion-3432919. Published June 3, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2023.