Nordic pole walking has been a popular activity in Europe since the 1990’s and has been gaining popularity in Canada more recently. There are several benefits to pole walking that include; increased activation of the muscles of the upper body and core, improved posture, reduced stress on the hip and knee joints and increased caloric expenditure. This activity can be done by anyone of any age and ability including those recovering from surgery or an injury. Below are some tips on how to get started.
1. Start by using proper Nordic walking poles. These poles are specifically designed for walking and are easily adjustable. They have a small metal tip at the end (for walking on grass or rough surfaces) that can be covered with a rubber boot (for walking on pavement or other smooth surfaces). Avoid trying to use poles that are meant for skiing or hiking.
2. Measure the correct height for the poles by standing in a tall posture and have your elbows bent to 90 degrees. The handles should reach your hands in this position.
3. Start walking by taking a step forward with your right foot and swinging your left arm. Swing your arms forward as if shaking hands with someone. Slide the pole forward and gently push back into the ground as you step with the left foot. Repeat this motion stepping with your left foot and swinging your right arm. Your arms should swing from the shoulder like a pendulum. The poles should not reach in front of your body but rather stay at the sides.
4. Try not to overthink things as you walk and relax the hands so not to grip the poles too tight.