Nordic Walking Guide
Perfecting Your Form
Yes, you learned to put one foot in front of the other in toddlerhood, but Nordic walking does have a small learning curve. The biggest challenge is coordinating your arms and legs. Here's how to nail the technique.
- First, you carry. Hold a pole in each hand, grasping it lightly. Walk with the poles alongside you, letting your arms swing in natural opposition to your legs (i.e., your left arm and right foot move in tandem). Do this for several minutes, until it feels natural.
- Then, you drag. Strap on the poles. As you walk, open your hands and let the poles drag behind you. (You'll skip this step once you move on.) Notice how the poles angle back behind you.
- Next, you plant. Plant the poles on the ground, rather than dragging them. Lightly hold the grips and keep the poles angled at about 45 degrees backward. Hold your elbows close to your body with your arms straight but relaxed. Focus on making good contact with the ground.
- Then, you push. As you get more comfortable walking, firmly push the poles backward with each step, applying force through the strap. Push your arm past your hip, opening up your hand at the end of the arm swing. As each arm comes forward, pretend you're reaching forward to shake someone's hand.
- Finally, perfect it! To maximize your workouts, tweak your form. Roll from your heels through to your toes. "If I were standing behind you, I should see the sole of your shoe as you push off," says Fenton. Maintain good posture and lean forward slightly from your ankles. Also, lengthen your stride: You'll get a fuller arm swing while giving your legs a better workout.
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