Nordic Walking Tips

Nordic Walking Technique

Nordic Walkers with Dog
Nordic Walkers with Dog. Westend61/Getty Images

Nordic walking is a technique used for walking with fitness walking poles. The nordic walking poles have hand straps or half gloves that enable the walker to use the nordic walking technique, releasing the pole at the end of each stroke.

Nordic walking poles have a fitness tip on them to allow then to be used on hard surfaces.

The benefits of the nordic walking technique include:

Nordic walking poles are available from several manufacturers.

Top Picks for Nordic Walking Poles

Adjust the Length of Your Nordic Walking Poles

Nordic Walking: Adjust your pole length
Nordic Walking: Adjust your poles to the right length.

Some varieties of nordic walking poles have adjustable height to make them easier to store or to share between people.

Before you begin walking, adjust your poles to the correct length.

The proper pole length is approx. 70% of your body height. Multiply your height in inches or in centimeters by 0.7 to get your pole length in the same units.

The correct length is such that when you extend your arm with the pole upright, your arm is straight with a slight bend at the elbow.

Pole Length Discussion

Align the Pole Tip and Adjust Hand Straps

Nordic Walking: Hand in Glove
Nordic Walking: Hand in Glove.

If your poles have a "paw" or rubber tip, twist it so it is facing behind you.

The hand strap should be comfortable but snug against the pole. Your hands should be slightly open and relaxed. You will be allowing the poles to swing from the wrist straps, not gripping the poles tightly but just cupping them in your hand.

Nordic Walking Pole Position

Two Women Nordic Walking
Nordic Walking. Scott Markewitz/Aurora Open/Getty Images

The poles will remain behind you, pointing backwards at all times. You may want to start your walk just dragging the poles behind you, then bring them slightly forward with each arm swing until the tip connects with the ground.

Posture for Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking: a front view

Your stance should be upright, not leaning forward or backward. Loosen your shoulders. Shrug your shoulders and let them drop, relax and release any tension. Monitor yourself to make sure you are not raising them and tightening them during your walk. Head should be up and looking forward.

Plant the Nordic Walking Pole with the Forward Foot

Nordic walking: plant pole near heel

Take a step. As your foot comes forward, the opposite arm comes forward to waist height, the pole in that opposite arm strikes the ground level with the heel of the forward foot.

Pushing the Nordic Walking Pole Back with a Step

Nordic Walking: a back view
Nordic Walking: a back view showing release of the hand from the grip at the end of the step.

As your foot rolls through the step from heel to toe, push the pole back. The arm straightens to be fully extended. At the end of the step, the hand opens off the grip completely.

Release the Nordic Walking Pole at End of Step Back Stroke

Nordic Walking - Releasing Pole on Backstroke
Nordic Walking - Releasing Pole on Backstroke. Thomas_EyeDesign/E+/Getty Images

At the end of the step, the hand opens off the grip completely. The pole release is possible due to the demi-glove or strap, which will snap the pole back into the hand as the hand begins to come forward.

Nordic Walking Technique: Next Step

Nordic Walking: rolling through a step
Nordic Walking: the pole remains on the ground as the walker rolls through the step.

Once the pole is fully extended behind your body, you bring it forward again with the opposite foot. Lightly grip the pole again with your hand as it swings into position to plant level with the heel of the forward foot. Note that the poles never plant in front of your feet.

Now You are Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking Couple
Nordic Walking Couple. Westend61/Getty Images

Nordic walking tones your upper body and relieves strain on your hips, knees, and ankles. While nordic walking, you burn more calories per mile while feeling no more exertion.

Build Your Nordic Walking Time
You will be working out new muscles when you begin nordic walking. Build up your minutes nordic walking steadily.

Limit your first nordic walking session to 20 minutes, getting used to the motion and use of the poles.

Build up your time spent nordic walking by 5-10 minutes a session.

For health and fitness, experts recommend walking for 30-60 minutes most days of the week.

Top Picks for Nordic Walking Poles

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