Nordic Walking is an enhanced walking technique that uses specially designed poles to work your upper body as well as your legs. It gives you a highly effective all-over workout. With a technique that is similar to the upper body action of classic cross-country skiing,
Nordic Walking is a genuinely whole-body exercise that can be enjoyed at many levels, at low, medium, or high intensity.
Nordic Walking combines the simplicity of walking with core and upper body conditioning similar to Nordic skiing. This gives you a full-body workout, which means that you can:
- Burn around 20% more calories compared to walking without poles.
- Release tension in your neck and shoulders.
- Improve your posture and gait.
- Strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.
- Reduce the impact on your joints.
- As reported by https://www.sciencedaily.com/ “Growing evidence suggests that non-conventional exercise interventions, such as high-intensity interval training and Nordic walking are more effective than traditional exercise approaches in improving functional capacity measured by a six-minute walk test — an important predictor of cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease. Nordic walking is an enhanced form of walking exercise that uses specifically designed poles to further engage both the upper and lower body muscles.”
And because Nordic Walking doesn’t feel like hard work you’ll be happy to walk further and for longer.
Mastering Proper Technique
Proper technique for Nordic walking with poles is a simple enhancement of normal arm swing when walking. The poles remain behind the body and point diagonally backward at all times.
This 10-step process begins by relaxing the upper body:
- Shoulders are relaxed and down
- Poles are held close to the body
- The hands are opened slightly to allow the poles to swing forward—the poles are not gripped but swing from the wrist straps.
- The leading foot strikes the ground
- The opposite arm swings forward to waist height
- The opposite pole strikes the ground level with the heel of the opposite foot
- The poles remain pointing diagonally backward, they are never in front of the body
- Push the pole as far back as possible, the arm straightening to form a continuous line with the fully extended arm, the hand opening off the grip by the end of the arm swing
- The foot rolls through the step to push off with the toe. This lengthens the stride behind the body, getting the most out of each stride
- The arm motion is loose and relaxed
Keeping the arms relaxed and the poles behind the body are key elements in the proper technique. Many people use the wrong techniques, planting the poles in front of the body and bending the elbow too much.
Is Nordic Walking for Me?
If you can walk you can Nordic Walk! It really is for everyone. The poles mean that effort is shared between the upper and lower body so it actually feels easier than normal walking, particularly uphill.
- Nordic Walking puts less strain on joints than other activities and can be very effective for people with mobility issues.
- It’s also a great exercise for toning problem areas such as the upper arms and abdominal muscles.
- It’s an ideal activity if you haven’t exercised for a while or dislike traditional sports or gym activities.
- It is helpful if you have had an injury as the poles can support and guide you while you work to improve your fitness as part of your rehabilitation.
- It is great for athletes for cross-training.
- It provides community groups with a sociable way to keep fit.
- And it’s fantastic if you’d like to shed a few pounds.
- Whatever your age, from 8 to 80+, you’ll enjoy discovering the benefits of Nordic Walking that improve your quality of life.
Although Nordic walking is an excellent exercise option, it does have some cons that may hinder some people from upholding it. Some of the disadvantages of Nordic walking include the costly expenses, risk of tripping, complex and time-consuming techniques, discomfort, and interruption of other simple activities. Discuss with an expert if you are interested in this activity.