Fitness Articles

Nordic Walking for Fitness and Fun!

An Introduction to Walking with Poles

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Basic Nordic Walking Technique
While Nordic walking is an effective workout, it’s not as simple as picking up a pair of walking sticks and heading out—you'll need to learn a different movement altogether. Here are some technique guidelines:
  1. Loop the pole straps over your hands, drop your hands back and start walking without thinking about the poles yet. Concentrate on relaxed walking and keep your shoulders low and loose. Allow your arms to swing freely back and forth.
     
  2. Walk with the poles held low and let them swing along with the arms without trying to use them. Lengthen your stride so and begin with the heel first, then roll onto the sole of the foot and finish with a thrust from the ball of the foot.
     
  3. Now concentrate on using the poles. Once you have gotten into a rhythm, try to use the arms more and more. The goal is to get the pole thrust to travel behind the line of the pelvis.
     
  4. Keep the Nordic poles close to the body. Your pelvis should be lifted high and your overall posture taut and slightly forward-leaning. Opposite arms and legs swing alternately forwards and back.
     
  5. For a visual of Nordic walking technique, check out the short YouTube video, Nordic Walking: An Introduction.
Buying Nordic Poles
You can buy Nordic poles online or in retail sporting goods stores at prices starting around $100 a pair. Exel, one of the original creators of Nordic walking, remains the top source for carbon composite poles. The types of Nordic poles are virtually endless, with options related to weight (light or heavy), materials (aluminum or carbon fiber), length (some are adjustable or fixed, while others are telescoping for easier packing), wrist straps and their release mechanisms, grips (many are ergonomically designed to reduce hand and wrist fatigue), tips (rubber for paved walkways and spikes for trails), and more.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • I love Nordic Walking. I have my poles beside the door, together with my green high visibility belt. People know me as that funny old lady who goes walking around barefoot with those ski pole things. I highly recommend this way of walking.

    You build upper body strength instead of having your upper body just come along for the ride while your legs do all the work. And it's good for people who have knee or foot issues. I have bad knees and a knee replacement.

    I love my Nordic Poles and would love to see more people in the USA walking this way (I get that it's bigger in Europe than it is here).
    - 8/1/2014 8:37:41 PM
  • Bought my father-in-law a pair years ago. He loved them. Now, I have to buy a pair for myself! - 11/7/2013 9:40:30 AM
  • PEACENCARROTS
    Interesting. I would love to try it someday. - 9/19/2013 10:52:44 AM
  • 4 pages, really?
    - 8/25/2013 9:48:33 PM
  • Great article - 6/15/2013 10:30:43 AM
  • This looks interesting and like something I'd like to try. Thanks for the info! - 2/14/2013 8:28:01 AM
  • Great information. I was given a pair, and this showed me what to do with them. - 2/5/2013 3:41:13 PM
  • Great article. I've seen nordic walking but had no idea there was a right way to do it. Would love to try. - 12/20/2012 4:56:30 PM
  • For some reason I keep thinking this article title is "Nordic Walking for Fitness and Profit!" - tee hee. :^)

    I suppose it does profit your fitness and overall health, right? So that's not far off. - 11/14/2012 9:01:28 AM
  • JUDABELLS
    I use to walk alot, but now my joints are so bad I am limited! - 8/25/2012 5:41:57 PM
  • STELLA-CO
    When buying Nordic poles, you might want to consider getting the telescoping type rather than the fixed length poles.
    Telescoping poles are much easier to pack for traveling, and are easily put away in a backpack if you should decide to jog or run a little. - 12/2/2011 2:07:41 PM
  • Ditto! Would love to see Nordic walking added to the fitness tracker! For some of us, it's our main form of cardio, ya know!!! - 6/1/2011 5:27:35 PM
  • I love nordic walking. Add it to the fitness tracker please!!!! - 5/28/2011 11:01:23 PM
  • The areas around here where I walk my dogs are filled with Nordic walkers during the warm months, it's downright a nuisance! I wish that people would get proper instruction before casually ambling through the woods, dragging poles around for no reason when they would walk faster without! In my two-and-a-half years here, I have seen ONE (!) person properly using the equipment. Makes me wonder if there's anyone leading those walking groups who knows what they're doing... - 2/23/2011 3:08:02 AM
  • this sounds really good for crosstraining, and I have seen people using the poles locally, but I am focusing on chi walking and this means the heel-to-toe motion would not work for me at this time. - 12/10/2010 10:21:19 PM
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