We hear that statement often : What walking poles can do for you…is simply amazing. This rather simple tool can give you zest for life, an overall feeling of health, peace of mind along with being physically fit. But how?
The Beginning Steps
If you’ve ever golfed or watched the game of golf, you’ll note that much of what is accomplished is through swing-technique. That is, each stroke by every golfer is similar to each other…but slightly different too, because we are different.
The same can be said about using Nordic Walking Poles. It is in the technique where we will get the most benefit.
The Break Down
The walking speed in which we begin our pole walking can determine how quickly we develop correct walking techniques. Usually it’s best to walk slowly at first, being consciously aware of how we are walking.
We’ll note several things almost immediately. Our walking stride will become longer, our back is straighter, chin is parallel to the walking surface, our arms are now being extending outwards as if shaking hands, our cardiovascular will improve almost overnight!
A slower, rhythmical type walking, almost graceful in appearance, can be accomplished within a short learning curve…if we learn the correct way right from the beginning.
Where Do We Begin? … At The Beginning of Course
Using Nordic walking poles is not like taking a stroll along the beach. We are purposely walking a certain way to accomplish better health, lose weight, develop muscle, or have better breathing techniques.
Follow along as we progress through techniques that are necessary to master.
What To Focus On
Your focus should be on your upper body position. Nordic poles “force” us to walk more upright, which in turn will develop muscles that keep good posture in our everyday walk.
Getting used to poles, one could spend much time on where the ends of each pole is landing and get distracted from walking correctly.
Concentrate on the long swing of your arms, once you find the correct “spot” for you, the pole tips will automatically find the correct positioning.
Pole rubber tips will give you that little extra push forward as you develop your stride. Keep your shoulders level, eyes forward, hands relaxed while cupping the walking pole grips.
Release The Grip
Often times new ones to Nordic walking poles, will keep a tight grip on the handle of each pole, as if it were going to slip away from them. However, with the proper hand strapping, you can release the grip each time you take a step.
That is just one of the proper techniques needed…releasing the grip when it is in the hip location as you walk.
Swing Naturally As You Walk
To start with, a flat surface is ideal. Be aware of the way you are standing. Stand as if you are being measured for your height. Straight and tall but not at attention.
Now for the “beach walk” stroll, you’ll need to be at ease and walk slowly. Concentrating on you posture, arm stretch out, grip release and so on.
Learn to completely let go of your poles.
Allow them to drag along with you. Concentrate on that opposite movement of arms and legs working rhythmically with each other. This will begin to feel automated when we get it right.
Remember to keep you chin up, looking forward, and keep your balance. This is the beginning development of proper posture. Lower back muscle gains and back health will come quickly.
Up to this point, as we walk or run, our arm movements have been short forward and backward movements to compensate for our balance.
With Nordic walking poles, we will need to learn to extend our arms out in front of us, (shaking hands across a wide table) with very little swing to the back. In fact, long time Nordic pole walkers do not have hardly any rearward swing past their hip area.
The forward hand extension should be no higher than about the middle of you stomach of navel area. Your stride is also something that would lengthen as you progress.
Rotation of hips, slight shoulder rotation, lengthening of stride and arm stretch will give you that synchronized smooth walking skill we are trying to accomplish.
Written by: Tom McDaniel Share this site