We’re coming up to the Christmas break and I know many of you will still be Nordic walking, even though our groups aren’t running. It’s great to go off by yourself or with others and explore the local area. Here are a few posture tips that you’ll find helpful:
1. Puppet on a string
Remember to lengthen your spine all the way up, right into where your spine joins your head. Try to increase the space between your vertebrae. Then imagine someone has attached a piece of string to the top of your head and is pulling you up through it – just like a puppet on a string!
2. Mind the gap(s)
There are two key ‘gaps’ to retain as you walk. The first is between the top of your hip bones and the bottom of your rib cage. Try not to let this space collapse. If you do, you will end up slumping and you won’t get the most out of your Nordic walking. The second gap to maintain is the one between your ear lobe and your shoulder. It’s so easy for those shoulders to creep (or in my case shoot) up to your ears. Try and keep them down and as much space between your ear lobe and shoulders as possible (think dangly earrings – they’d look lovely on you men!).
3. Eddie the eagle (or Kate Winslet)
For those of you too young to remember, Eddie ‘the eagle’ was the first Brit to represent GB in Olympic ski jumping. The Kate Winslet moment is on the deck of the Titanic, figurine like, arms outstretched, with Leonardo di Caprio behind her. Both Eddie and Kate are leaning into the wind, chest out, posture-perfect. Take those images and apply it to your Nordic walking. You’ll be positively gliding (and definitely smiling).
4. The three levels
Don’t forget your hips, shoulders and chin should all be level. It’s easy to hitch one hip up or dip a shoulder down when planting the pole into the ground. However, this isn’t good for your posture. I often use the term ‘equal energy’, which I think I learned from my tai chi days. A useful image is to think of a spirit level running between your hips and along your shoulders – don’t let the bubble move off centre. Equally, try to keep your chin horizontal with the ground when you’re walking. Most of us tend to drop our heads when we’re thinking, so be aware of that and keep your head up with your eyes scanning the ground ahead.
These tips aren’t limited to Nordic walking. You can apply them every time you go out for a walk, wherever you’re heading.