Get Fit with Nordic Walking

5 ways to improve your walk and overall fitness

BY HUMAN KINETICS

Moving from point A to B isn’t always efficient and pain free. When it lands, your foot can move–or not move–depending on your whole body’s muscle strength and flexibility. When your weak foot carries your body weight, your ankle joint needs support from the correct muscles to carry the weight.

Nordic walking fitness enhances regular walking. The activity is performed with specially designed walking poles similar to ski poles. These five techniques will help you nordic walk correctly, thus improving your walking performance and overall fitness.

1. Fall (Lean) Forward
While walking, make sure to lean forward as one unit. It feels almost as like the body is falling forward. The weight should be on the balls of your feet. Always keep that core activated in a neutral pelvic position to avoid any bending in the waist or rounding of the back while leaning forward. Walk around and see how it feels to lean forward as one unit. Does it feel as if speed is increasing? If so, this is correct.

2. Arm Meets Opposite Leg
Start walking. After a few steps, glance down to see the left arm swinging forward. Next, observe what foot lands at the same time. Yes, the right foot lands at the same time the left arm swings forward. Basically, left arm meets right leg, and right arm meets left leg. This is the natural walking rhythm, and most people don’t even think about it–it just happens naturally.

3. Use an Even and Straight Arm Swing
When the arm and leg rhythm is mastered, make sure the arm swing is even. In other words, swing the arm as much forward as backward. This is hard to see on yourself unless somebody videotapes you from the side. One solution is to stand sideways in front of a mirror. Swing one arm and see if there is an even swing or if it mainly swings forward. Try to correct it and walk around with this awareness.

4. Slightly Twist the Rib Cage
Stand still and place your hands around your rib cage, just below the chest. Keep your head and hips straight while softly turning your ribcage from right to left. Feel the twist (rotation). Focus on your solar plexus, where the axis of the rotation takes place. Try maintaining this twisting movement while releasing your hands.

Start walking and add this slight rotation to your walk. Don’t slow down, but keep a regular pace. A slight torso rotation to the left naturally moves the right arm forward. That also means that the opposite leg, in this case the left one, moves forward. Remember arm meets opposite leg.

5. Walking in balance
It is very important to keep the core activated and the shoulder blades stabilized during the slight rotation. Divide the body into two parts: upper and lower. Their meeting place is in the solar plexus. Initiating movement from the inside from this meeting place, creates an efficient way for the body to maintain balance while walking. iT!

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