Walk this way: LSBU research spearheads nationwide ‘Walkactive’ campaign
06 June 2014
Joanna Hall –
a leading independent fitness expert – created 'Walkactive' in 2008, hailing it
as a revolutionary walking technique that could stimulate radical changes in body
shape, posture, and health.
Walkactive technique encourages participants to walk through the whole of the
foot while attending to specific mechanical considerations within the gait
cycle, including: hip stabilisation, retracted shoulders and correct use of the
arms - all of which have been suggested to improve health and wellbeing by
improving posture and promoting weight loss.
these anecdotal benefits, Joanna Hall approached Dr Darren James of LSBU's Sport & Exercise Science Research
Centre (SESRC). The
research centre is internationally recognised for its expertise in movement neuroscience,
muscle metabolism and clinical and applied science.
said: "Since creating my Walkactive technique and seeing our clients
improvements in their posture, body shape and joint discomfort. I have always
wanted to have some scientific verification into the merits the system.
centre at London South Bank University is internationally recognised but I was
also particularly keen to work with the team there - led by Dr Darren James -
due to his specialist research interest in walking. Walking is the most accessible form of
exercise for the vast majority of people so to have the Walkactive technique
examined in terms of its health and benefits by a team who specialise in
walking has been very exciting."
2013, Telegraph readers were invited to take part in a scientific study at LSBU
that aimed to demonstrate the effects of the Walkactive technique.
thousands of submissions, 24 participants, whose only physical activity amounted
to leisurely walking, were chosen to follow a 28-day Walkactive plan. Their responses
would be compared with a control group of 10 people who were matched for baseline
physical activity, and received no training and were asked not to alter their
James explained: "The results of the study showed that walking speed increased
in the Walkactive group by 23%. All of these participants reported that their
level of physical activity had increased since taking part in the study, whereas
none of the control group reported this. 96% of Walkactive participants
reported that their general wellbeing had improved since starting the study, as
opposed to 0% in the control group."
As a result of
the 28-day plan, significant reductions were found in body mass (2%), estimated
body fat percentage (3%), and in the skinfold measurement at the waist (15%).
Participants walked taller following the 28-day plan: their centre of mass
vertical displacement was significantly greater than pre-intervention measurements
as a result of improved posture and skeletal alignment. Correspondingly, ground
forces during the single-limb support phase of walking were significantly
lower, causing noticeable reductions in the force experienced at the knee and
weekend of 7-8 June 2014 The Telegraph will publish the results of the study,
with an accompanying 28-page guide encouraging its readers to follow the plan
and achieve similar positive results.