I had a proverbial bee in my bonnet this week about showing those of you who were at my classes how Nordic walking can help strengthen and stabilise the hip/pelvis area. Everyone was kindly attentive and I want to take this opportunity to reinforce what I said.
Our hip flexor, hamstring and gluteal muscles are among the most important groups of muscles in our bodies. They are necessary for the long term mobility, stability and safety of our lower body. Unfortunately when we sit down our hip flexors and hamstrings shorten and our glutes (the muscles in our bottom) weaken. The longer we spend sitting the shorter and weaker these muscles become. This eventually manifests as hip, groin, knee or lower back pain (if you’re really unlucky you might experience all at once). Why? Because all these muscles variously attach onto our pelvis, lower back, thigh and lower leg. So if they are tight or weak they cannot support this crucial area of our body properly.
The wonderful thing is that just by walking you can stretch and strengthen all these muscles. Nordic walking is even better. It’s a matter of knowing what to do. Here’s some tips:
- Stand tall out of your hips.
- Pull your tummy button gently in towards your spine.
- Keep your chest open.
- Roll actively through your foot, pushing off evenly with your toes so that you can feel a stretch across the top of your foot and your ankle is open.
- Squeeze your glutes and push into your hips when you push off with your toes.
- Keep your hips level.
By doing all of the above you should feel the muscles up the back of your leg working and your hip flexor muscles stretching. It’s great for hip health and pelvic stability, and particularly worth focusing on if you’ve been sitting a lot recently.