We’ve had more than our fair share of rain and mud this January and we’ve been delighted by the way you’ve carried on regardless! In many ways mud gives you a great workout – your legs, core and arms are all having to work seriously hard to keep you from slipping and sliding around which means you’ll be burning plenty of calories and toning your body at the same time. However it’s easy to feel unstable if you’re slipping backwards and sideways when you’re trying to push forwards. So here’s some pointers for Nordic walking in mud:
Walking boots with a good tread are absolutely essential. Please check yours next time you’re out – if the lugs on the underside of your boot are clogged with mud you need to rethink your footwear or else you will be sliding instead of walking. Try the Boot Buddy to get your Boots back to tip top condition.
Your poles are your best friend in mud. Most of us plant by our back foot and this provides a strong stabiliser as you push off. So push down firmly and you will reduce the amount of sideways and backwards slippage as you move forwards. If you’re still feeling anxious then just bring your poles a little more upright – not classic technique but the poles are your servant, not your master. Lastly always keep one pole in firm contact with the ground – try not to double pole, especially up or down hills.
Tighten your tummy
Pulling your tummy button towards your spine will engage your core muscles and give you greater balance. This is especially important when going downhill.
Relax your neck and shoulders
It’s natural to tighten your neck and raise your shoulders when you feel anxious. But this is highly counter-productive when walking in muddy conditions as it will just de-stabilise you further. So don’t let your shoulders rise up – retain that big gap between your ear lobe and shoulder and try and keep your neck relaxed.
Reduce your arm swing
Whilst we normally encourage a full arm swing, I tend not to extend the push behind my hips (release) when it’s slippy underfoot. There’s better stability with the pole in front, not behind.
Stride length and speed
Speed can be a big factor in slipping. Slow down and reduce your stride length significantly. You won’t be holding the class up and we want you to exercise safely.
All of our instructors know the areas we walk in well and will endeavour to pick the best routes possible. We are also using it as an opportunity to seek out the firmer tracks and paths and work that core, so it’s a good idea to keep your paws handy for when we have to walk on tarmac.
Nordic walking is a wonderfully ‘safe’ exercise, but we are at the mercy of the elements so please take care.
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on best walking kit here’s our recommendations: