It’s been bitterly cold at times this week and for me it’s when Nordic walking comes into its own. This amazing exercise energises your whole body – from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. I know this from personal experience. I used to suffer from Raynaud’s, where your fingers (and sometimes toes) go white and numb in cold weather. Since Nordic walking this is a thing of the past – and my circulation in general has also improved.
Blood circulation is one of the most important functions in the body. It brings nutrient and oxygen rich blood to the brain, muscles and cells, and transports it (with all the waste product) back to the heart. In cold weather like we’ve had recently it can be a struggle to get your circulation going.
When it’s chilly it’s also tempting to tense against the cold, hunching-up your shoulders and curling your body inwards. This of course is counter-productive, making your body more static, and hindering not helping circulation.
I have found that in cold weather the following things help me to warm up fast, giving me maximum benefit from my Nordic walk:
- Get a good arm swing going. Swinging your arms is a great way to get the blood pumping round your body. Make sure the swing is from your shoulder and you’re not clamping your upper arm into your body.
- Punch the pole firmly into the ground. Not only does this help warm you up it’s also a great way of venting any annoyance/anger/frustration you might be carrying.
- Actively open and close your hands. Please try this as it makes an enormous difference. Squeeze your hand purposefully round the pole as you swing your arm forwards then energetically splay your hand open as you push back. You’ll have toasty fingers in no time.
- Drop your shoulders and relax them. Don’t let your shoulders sneak towards your ears and tense up. Drop them down and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Work your feet. Actively roll from your heel, through your mid-foot and onto your toes, keeping the latter wide like a duck’s webbed feet and pushing off evenly with them.
- Lift your chest to allow your lungs to expand fully. Your breathing plays an influential role in your circulation so lift your chest and give your lungs maximum room to inflate.
- Remember your rotation. This might be slower to get going than the rest of your body but it is the final piece in the cold mornings warm-up jigsaw and utterly brilliant if you have a stiff back.
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here and if you’re looking for our advice on good kit here’s our recommendations: