The poles do the walking…

Summer is the time for holidays, al fresco dining, enjoying our gardens and appreciating the gorgeous countryside (whilst out walking of course).  It’s also a time to be extra vigilant to come out on walks hydrated and factored up! Last week temperatures reached 24 degrees on a couple of our walks – water never tasted so good.  

Newer members to our club soon get into ‘kit banter’ once they see regular walkers carrying their water bottles in nifty hydration belts. Please please please never underestimate the importance of hydration so top tips from our seasoned walkers is fabulous. Interestingly, for our newer walkers, talk on the walk is also about the Shoulder Swing, which as we all know is one of the cornerstones of the Nordic walking technique.  All of us need refreshers to get the most from our walking, so here’s our definitive guide! 

Coming up this summer we have a few special events on the coast, so why not make a day of it and appreciate summer before it vanishes? We are even looking ahead to 2020 to a walking weekend in Rutland….

How do we get a good arm swing? TOP TIPS:

It should feel natural  

My number one piece of advice is constantly to remind yourself that Nordic walking should feel like a more active version of ordinary walking, especially the way in which you swing your arms.  Next time you have an idle moment watch how people use their arms when they walk.  Although the majority don’t actually swing their arms much you’ll barely ever see anyone:

  • Clamp their shoulder tightly into the side of their body rather than let it move freely; and/or
  • Hinge at the elbow rather than swing from the shoulder.

These are the most common Nordic walking arm swing mistakes.

Reach forwards (but don’t over-do it)

The textbook forward swing is a straight arm with a ‘soft’ elbow.  As though you were reaching forwards for a low handshake.  Be careful not to over-reach as this is likely to pull your shoulders forwards and out of alignment.  Don’t worry if you don’t have the textbook soft elbow so long as your arm movement comes mostly from your shoulder and not your elbow.

Improve your hand squeeze and release
A poor arm swing often comes about if you haven’t quite mastered the hand squeeze (which lifts the tip of the pole off the ground and stops it dragging/bouncing) and so are trying to compensate.  Practice your hand control and you will probably find that your arm swing improves.  Single arm poling is great for this.

Speed up your arm swing to push the pole behind you
You’ll have to quicken your arm swing to push the pole behind your body.  It’s a great way to work your triceps (bingo wings) and tone your shoulders.  As you do this, you should rotate your torso.

Stretch your chest muscles – HEAD UP!
It’s very easy in our daily lives to round our shoulders forwards.  Eventually this leads to permanently tightened pectoral muscles pulling our posture out of alignment.  Your arm swing will be compromised if your shoulders are pulled forwards as you won’t have the space to swing your arm freely.  It’s well worth getting into the habit of stretching out your chest.  It will benefit more than your Nordic walking. TOP TIP:  Look up, look up, look up!


At the end of this month, we will be joined by NW Tameside who are returning for another Norfolk ‘fix’. This is what Nordic Walking is all about!  Meeting new people, making friends, walking in new places and having a day out!  Alongside our regular weekly walks we are also putting on a (Wells) Quay to (Morston) Quay 9 mile walk on Tuesday 30th August:


Don’t forget we also have a Joint Walk with West Norfolk Nordic Walking – Saturday 17th August- Wells to Holkham 5 or 10 mile circular + lunch:



If you would like a t-shirt please bring either £13 or £22 (for two) in exact money please to your next walk.   

Updated: July 16, 2019 — 6:37 am