Core and butt muscles These muscle groups also power your stride, but if they are out of shape, they can contribute to injuries. For example, weak gluteus medius muscles in your hip area—a common problem in females—allow your pelvis to tilt down, instead of remaining level, as your leg swings, explains Browning. This can create misalignment from your hips to your feet and can lead to knee injuries.
Hip flexors (tops of your thighs)When these muscles are tight, they limit your range of motion and prevent you from fully extending your leg behind you for a powerful push-off. In addition to the exercise on page 88, yoga and Pilates are good workouts for targeting these muscles.
Shins The tiny muscles here are responsible for keeping your feet from hitting the ground hard when you land. However, they’re often weak from underuse and tend to burn out quickly, making them a major source of pain for walkers. Before and after every walk, do the series of stretching exercises on page 88. If your shins start to scream during a workout, stop and do the series five or six times to ease the pain.
Next: 4-Week Fast Walking Plan
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