OH! Magazine - Australian Version October 2018 - Page 5

( FITNESS & MOTIVATION ) MICHELLE BRIDGES NORDIC WALK YOUR WAY TO OPTIMUM HEALTH Michelle Bridges explains the wonders of Nordic Walking. W hen is walking not just walking? When it’s Nordic Walking! As the name suggests, Nordic Walking hails from the Nordic region, and it’s a fantastic way to add variety to your walking and exercise regime. Nordic Walking is easier to do than regular walking; it’s great for boosting endurance- based fitness, and it can be done purely for fun, to improve your fitness, or to help with rehabilitation. The simple addition of the poles, coupled with correct technique, results in greater stability and control. They also make it less physically demanding than regular walking. This creates a simple but profound way to enable people who might otherwise be physically limited – such as those with MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, or anyone else who struggles with regular walking – to participate in regular physical activity, and maintain their independence and quality of life. So how do you do it? All you need is a pair of Nordic Walking poles, some instruction around technique (yes, there is a technique to Nordic Walking), and you’ll be ready to rock and roll! The poles make it easier to propel yourself uphill, to control yourself when going downhill and if you’re walking in rugged terrain, they’ll help you to keep your balance better too. First up, think of Nordic Walking as an an enhancement of your regular walking style. So: • Keep your shoulders relaxed, holding your poles in a loose grip and keeping the tips pointing diagonally backward. • Lean slightly forwards, and let your arms swing naturally as you take longer than normal strides. • Plant your front pole tip down between the front and back foot. As your right foot is in front, the left pole is planted down (a natural walking gait is opposite arm swinging forward to the front-stepping leg). Like all new activities, when you first begin it’s a good idea to get some instruction from a qualified Nordic Walking instructor. This way you know you’ll be moving correctly, so you can then go forth and conquer! To learn more online, check out Nordic Walking Australia or the Nordic Walking Academy. CONNECT WITH MICHELLE VIA: Web: michellebridges.com.au Facebook: Mishy.Bridges Twitter: @mishbridges Instagram: @mishbridges OH! MAGAZINE ( OCTOBER 2018 ) 5