Let’s face it – getting older can be a pain in the back, the neck, and the joints. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
By taking care of our posture and body symmetry, we can reduce the risk of pain, improve our balance and coordination, feel younger and look more confident. And the best part? We don’t need to spend hours in the gym or follow a strict diet to achieve it. All we need is a pair of Nordic walking poles and a few simple tips.
First things first – why does posture matter, and what is good posture anyway?
Simply put, good posture refers to the correct alignment of our body parts while we stand, sit, or move. It means keeping our spine straight, our shoulders relaxed, and our chin parallel to the ground.
When we have good posture, our muscles and joints work more efficiently, and we can breathe more deeply, which boosts our energy levels and reduces stress.
On the other hand, poor posture can lead to a range of health problems, from back and neck pain to digestive issues and even headaches. It can also affect our mood and confidence, making us feel tired, grumpy, and insecure.
And unfortunately, as we age, our posture tends to worsen, as our muscles and bones lose strength and flexibility. That’s why it’s crucial that we pay attention to our posture and take steps to improve it.
So how can we achieve better posture, and why is Nordic walking a great way to do it?
- Start with the basics. Before you start Nordic walking, make sure you have a good understanding of what proper posture looks like. Stand up straight, with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders relaxed. Pull your belly button towards your spine and lift your chest up. Keep your head in a neutral position, neither tilted up nor down.
- Use your poles wisely. Nordic walking poles can be a great tool for improving posture as they help you achieve a symmetrical body position. Plus they make it easier to engage the all-important upper body muscles. Make sure you adjust your poles to the correct length and grip them lightly, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Swing your arms naturally and let the poles propel you forward. Nordic walking poles are a real fitness tool, not crutches just to hold you up.
- Engage your core. Your core muscles, including your abs and lower back, play a key role in maintaining good posture. By strengthening them, you can prevent slouching and improve your balance. Try some simple core exercises, such as a standing cross crunch or a bird dog, before or after your Nordic walking sessions.
- Be mindful of your steps. When you Nordic walk, aim to take active steps, rolling from heel to toe and pushing off evenly with your toes. This not only helps improve your cardiovascular fitness but also engages your leg muscles and enhances your overall posture. Bonus tip – if you squeeze your bum as you push off, you’ll be building your glute muscles which protects your knees.
- Practice regularly. Like any form of exercise, Nordic walking requires consistency to see results. Try to aim for at least 30-60 minutes of Nordic walking two to three times a week, gradually building up your endurance and speed. As you become more comfortable with the technique, you’ll notice your posture improving and your body feeling more balanced and aligned.
If you’d like to get fit in a friendly, welcoming community, join us to learn the technique on a Beginner Workshop. Then you can book onto any of our regular Nordic walks in Bath or Bristol. You won’t regret it!
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking team
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: