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How to Perform Nordic Walking Correctly

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Thanks to Nordic walking, you can turn a regular walk into a full-fledged workout, activating about 80%-90% of your muscles. This kind of sport makes the body stronger, improves posture, makes it easier to lose weight, and puts all the muscle groups to work, unlike regular walking where only the leg muscles get used. Additionally, you can do Nordic walking anywhere, anytime, and at almost any age.

5-Minute Crafts is going to tell you how to perform Nordic walking correctly. Also, we’ll point out the mistakes many beginners make.

It’s important to note that just like any other athletic activity, before you start doing it, it’s best to consult your doctor.

What kindd of poles you need and how long they should be

  • On the handle of a Nordic walking pole, there should be a wrist strap. Thanks to this piece, you won’t accidentally drop the pole when you open the palm in the last phase of the step if you have the right technique. If there’s no wrist strap on the handle, these poles are not for Nordic walking, they’re for hiking.

  • There are poles that have a fixed length and ones that you can adjust to your height. The latter is a better option.

  • To adjust the length of the poles according to your height, multiply your height in centimeters by 0.68. So, if your height is 175 cm, the length of the poles should be 119 cm.

  • At the end of Nordic walking poles, you’ll see a sharp metal tip. You can use this if you’re walking on slippery surfaces, like ice. The tip will stick into the ice and make it easier to walk. If you are walking on asphalt, there should be a rubber “shoe.” This shape will help you keep a right angle with the pole, which is about 45°.

How to warm up your body before Nordic walking

To prepare your body for the workout, do a 10 to 15-minute warm-up. It’s necessary to warm up the muscles and reduce the risk of injury.

Here are some exercises you can do to warm up your body:

  • Exercise 1: Take both poles and put them above your head horizontally. Do 3-4 bends to the left and right.
  • Exercise 2: Put the arms with the poles behind you. The ends should be on the ground. Squat 15 times.
  • Exercise 3: Lean on the poles with your right arm, bend the left leg in the knee, and grab the ankle with your left hand. Try pulling the ankle to the buttocks. Keep the position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Exercise 4: Put the poles in front of you at shoulder width. Put one leg forward and put on the heel. Make the tip of the foot face upward. Bend the other leg in the knee and bend forward. Keep the back straight. Keep the position for 15 seconds and then repeat it with the other leg facing forward.
  • Exercise 5: Bend forward and lean on the sticks with your arms straight out. Repeat the exercise several times.

Nordic walking technique

  • While walking, you need to wave with your right arm and take a step with your right leg and vice versa.

  • If you start to lose pace and get lost in the movements, try dragging the poles behind you for some time — you will notice that when you walk, you do it in accordance with Nordic walking. Don’t analyze your movements and let the body walk freely. When your movements are natural, use the poles.

  • While walking, the arm going back should be totally unbent and the palm should be open. The pole should be held with the wrist strap only.

  • The walking consists of 3 stages: press, push, and relaxing the arm in the back. The more you push, the more the load on your body is.

  • Start every step with the heel, gradually rolling on the tip of the foot.

  • Watch the amplitude of your movements — the arms should go forward and behind your back to about 45°. The poles will always follow your body.

  • The entire arm should be in motion — from the forearm to the wrist.

  • Keep the back straight and lean the body forward. Relax the shoulders. Look straight ahead.

  • Draw an imaginary line going perpendicular to your chest. Move all the body parts (arms with the poles, legs, and shoulders) along this imaginary line.

  • Inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth.

  • Gradually increase the walking speed from medium to fast.

The biggest mistakes in Nordic walking

  • Mistake: The leg and arm on the same side do the same motion at the same time (as the left photo shows).

  • Mistake: The arm is bent at the elbows (as the right photo shows).
    A person is just walking and moving the poles. The right way is to move the entire arm, barely bending at the elbows at all.

  • Mistake: You move the poles too close or too far from each other. In Nordic walking, the poles should be parallel to each other.

  • Mistake: You imitate the push or don’t push with the poles at all. You have to move the weight of the body to the poles and push with them. When you make a wave with your right arm, you should lean on the poles.

  • Mistake: You squeeze the handle too much. The right way is to push with the open palm and let the pole hang in the strap.

  • Mistake: You reduce the amplitude. The arms should move fully!

Preview photo credit 5-Minute Crafts
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