Perfect Your Walking Performance

How efficient is your walking performance? Protect your back and feet with these technique tips for effective nordic walking.

Five technique tips for effective nordic walking

CONTRIBUTED BY HUMAN KINETICS

Nordic walking is an enhancement of regular walking. A person can go from point A to point B, but how efficient and how pain-free is that walk? When the foot lands, it has so many options to move–or not move–due to muscle strength and flexibility in the body. When all the body weight is applied on the poor foot seconds later, the ankle joint had better get all the support it needs from the correct muscles to carry the weight. Practice one step at a time while walking around indoors or outdoors. See how it feels, and be aware of it while out for a stroll.

1. Heel Strikes First
When landing with the foot, make sure the heel lands first, more specifically with the center of the heel first. Walk around and see if it feels as though it is being done the right way. Focus on one foot at a time.

2. Rock and Roll Like a Rocker
After landing with the heel, continue to roll onto the rest of the foot. Practice this rolling movement by first standing still: Rock back and forth from heel to toes like a rocking chair. It is fairly easy to hear feet that don’t roll, especially with shoes on when going downhill. There is a slapping sound. Feet that roll are almost soundless. Try it and listen. Next time you have shoes on while walking down a hill, listen and decide whether your feet are slapping or are quiet. If sore shins are common, the slapping of the feet could be one cause.

3. Heel Comes Off the Ground
While rolling onto the ball of the foot (base of the toes), the heel comes off the ground. Now walk around and feel the heel coming off. Concentrate on one foot only.

4. Push Off With the Ball of the Foot
Then push the ball of the foot down and back into the ground. This push-off action propels the body forward. Walk around and feel how to push-off with the base of the toes.

5. Activate the Buttocks
At the same time the ball of the foot is pushed on, the bottom of the buttock is activated. Tighten only one buttock. Feel the connection between push-off action of the ball of the foot and the activation of the buttock of the same leg. iT!

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