How To Use nordic walking poles – 5 steps for Beginners

There’s More to Walking than Using your Legs.

That’s right, walking doesn’t only have to involve the lower portion of your body. When you are walking outside for exercise or to run errands, your upper body is relaxed. As a result, you may not receive the proper amount of oxygen that you need to keep yourself from getting tired. Posture has a lot to do with it since less active muscles in your arms and torso could make you slouch more than you should when walking. What can be done to fix this?


Nordic walking is an exercise and sport that allows the partaker to generate more activity from the upper body than ordinary walking. The only accessory required to do this is Nordic walking poles. They average about eight ounces in weight and are made from either aluminum, carbon, or a combination of both. The poles themselves resemble those that you might have seen on alpine skiers use. But the difference lies in the terrain. Nordic walking is best done on relatively flat land. You could perform the exercise on slopes and hills too, but most walkers stick to either dirty of concrete trails.

Nordic walking - a great opportunity to enjoy the colors of nature
Nordic walking – a great opportunity to enjoy the colors of nature

The information below will show you how to use Nordic walking poles properly, and the technique required to get the best workout from them. All stones will be unturned, including a listing of the equipment you’ll need, and point-by-point instructions for getting in walking rhythm. Remember, this isn’t the same as the standard walking technique that you’re accustomed to. You’ll want to pay attention and follow the directions carefully. On a good note, Nordic walking is much easier than some may have explained it to you before. The routine will become second nature to you in no time at all. So without further delay, let’s get started!

What You Need to Get Started Nordic

To begin the tutorial, there are a few things that you’ll want to acquire before you begin the Nordic walking exercise. Be sure to have the following on your person to get started:

Nordic Walking Poles use a sizing chart

  • Nordic Walking Poles – This is the main piece to have before you start. They can be found easily, either at your local sports store or online. However, you’ll come across a great variety on the net than you would from a brick-and-mortar sports outlet. You can choose between aluminum or steel but try to focus your primary choices on the pole’s length. Some walking poles have a fixed length while others can be extended to match the height on the walker. To help with this, use a sizing chart so you don’t end up with poles that are two sizes too small (or big!).

The Tips

  • The Tips – Rubber Tips, also called feet, will come into direct contact with the ground. Your poles should always be fitted with tips that correlate to the terrain your walking will take place on. If it’s concrete or asphalt, then the rubber would be the best. Wider tips that won’t sink into the ground are best for soil, with the widest more appropriate for cold weather. Fortunately, the walking poles you pick will probably have rubber and ground tips included with them, especially if you buy the product as a set.

Wrist Straps

  • Wrist Straps – Wrist straps will normally be featured with the set of walking poles you pick but are sometimes hit or miss. If the straps are too tight-fitting or loose, try to find a replacement. They’re sold online as a single pair, ranging from velcro-lined to clip on.

Walking Shoes/Sneakers

  • Walking Shoes/Sneakers – If you already jog or partake in normal walking exercise routines, then you may already have a good pair of sneakers or walking shoes. Nordic walking is obviously a hobby that you won’t want to do with boots on, so get new footwear if you don’t already own anything suitable for it.

Sun Protection

  • Sun Protection – This could by anything from a visor, to sun-blocking lotion.


  • Water – Remember that you’re going to be outside exercising muscles that you normally don’t use when walking normally. Always take water with you to drink, even if the weather outside is cool. Try to take breaks in between your routes to not overexert yourself

Nordic Walking for the First Time

Here’s everything that you should do when you start your first Nordic walking experience.

Step 1: Check the Terrain

Take a look around before you begin. What type of terrain are you going to be walking on? If it’s just around your neighborhood, then you’ll probably only need tips that are made for hard or ground surfaces. Or maybe it’s raining out and you’ll need something that won’t sink in the mud. Do a check to ensure that nothing ends up tearing before you’ve had a chance to get used to it. Adjust your poles to the correct height, paying special attention to not pull them up too far. If you do have adjustable poles, keep in mind that extending them too close to the end could bend them out of shape over time.

Check terrain before go nordic walking
A photo of me with trekking poles Not to be confused with Nordic walking poles! They are different!

Step 2: Get into Position

This is the part where you can practice the takeoff. Stand in an upright position and place your poles at a 45-degree angle from your hands, ensuring that they’re facing behind you. If you’re using rubber pads, turn them so that the flattened part lies flush with the pavement. They will wear off quickly if you don’t and pushing back during walking would feel awkward. Make sure that your feet are straightened, placing your left or right foot forward when you ready to move.

Right position for nordic walking


Step 3: Begin Walking Slowly

Always begin Nordic walking by moving at a slow, steady pace. This way, you’ll be able to finetune your form and do the exercise correctly. Gently push the poles back with your hand, taking care to release the corks before your wrist and arms swing back forward. After you push back, only your wrist your raise the poles in front of you again. Never pick up the handles with your hands. As you get into a rhythm, try not to sway from side to side. So long as your posture remains tight and you avoid slouching, your technique will be sufficient for the entire route.

nordic walking slow technique


Step 4: Speed Up the Pace

As you start to speed up, keep your legs in a straight line. Your spine and upper torso should also be straight. This will allow more air to flow through your lungs, helping you burn off more calories as you walk. However, don’t go too fast; keep your speed consistent with the rate at which you would walk without the poles. If you’re doing it the right way you’ll feel your triceps getting tighter. It’s also an indication of good blood flow during the workout, which is a good thing.


nordic-walking-straight line torso
Source: Pixabay

Step 5: Stay in Good Form

This can sometimes be the hardest part for beginners. Try not to overthink things, just keep your pace in control and body straight. Think military form during a march. So long as your poles are angled and there’s not too much traction coming from your feet, your legs won’t get tired. Much of the power needed during Nordic walking comes from the arms and midsection of your body, with foot/leg movement responsible for keeping you entire form parallel.


stay in good form when nordic



Did you enjoy the article? If so, it’s recommended that you take notes on the steps shown previously, and all items that you’ll need to begin Nordic walking properly. Gear for doing this is easy to find, and you probably already have most of it lying around in your home (minus the walking poles, if you haven’t bought any yet). I’ve learned the hard way that improper technique and form can determine whether or not one’s Nordic walking experience will be enjoyable or not. Having the basic skills listed above can ensure that you’ll get a good workout, all while having fun doing it at the same time!

How To Use nordic walking poles - 5 steps for Beginners
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How To Use nordic walking poles - 5 steps for Beginners
I share my more than 15 years of Nordic walking experience. What you need to buy to start
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6 thoughts on “How To Use nordic walking poles – 5 steps for Beginners

  1. I love to just go walking on the trails that are out behind my house. I live near a park so it’s the perfect place to use my Nordic walking poles. I wish more people knew about this great way to stay healthy! I walk with a few friends a few times a week.

  2. For a while, I didn’t realize I was using the wrong walking poles for the terrain I was on. I usually walk on trains with dirt and I didn’t have the wider tips so it was always annoying when they would get stuck in the ground.

  3. I have recently taken up Nordic walking to keep myself healthy and it is actually really relaxing and interesting. Now I just need to convince my husband to get up and do it with me!

  4. I have been looking for a relatively non-impactful exercise while still being able to see nature and be outside. This is something I had never heard of and will definitely be seeing if I can get into it!

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