Nordic walking comes with many excellent health benefits
When it comes to getting fit, there are a ton of exercises and physical activities that the average human can indulge in, and one of them is Nordic Walking.
Walking allows people to make the most of their legs and it also helps burn calories. Many overweight people have succeeded in losing weight purely by going for long, brisk walks.
However, there’s a different style of walking that helps achieve the same results. But the difference is that it is considerably more efficient than taking a regular stroll.
Welcome to the World of Nordic Walking
Nordic Walking or Scandinavian Walking is an exercise gives a work out to the entire body. Plus, it doesn’t stress out your joints, which makes it ideal for elderly or overweight people.
This particular walking style began as a training exercise for cross-country skiers. The process involves using walking poles specifically designed for the purpose of Nordic Walking. The basic principle here is that the poles help the walker leverage his/her upper body towards moving forward.
Consequently, the entire body gets a solid workout.
It’s a great form of exercise for people of all ages and body types. One can begin with basic walks and progress to full-on workout walks which are a little more intense, but nevertheless, highly beneficial.
As mentioned earlier, one has to have a pair of walking poles in order to engage in Nordic Walking. Nordic walking poles are like trekking poles, but the angle the Walker places them on the ground, and the way they’re strapped on, tends to vary a bit.
Here are some interesting facts about Nordic Walking:
- Nordic Walking helps burn around 46% more calories when compared to regular walking.
- Nordic Walking utilizes 90% of the body’s skeletal muscles.
- There is less stress on the feet. Around 50% of the pressure usually felt by the central metatarsals during regular walking, is eliminated. In other words, your feet won’t feel worn out too soon.
- Studies show that seniors who indulge in Nordic Walking tend to enjoy better overall functionality.
- Experts have also found that Nordic Walking allows obese individuals to adhere to an intense workout program by creating the perception of reduced effort. In other words, it’s an exercise that appears to be easier than it is.
- It is a cost-effective training system for COPD patients. People with COPD show improved abilities with regard to physical activity once they take up Nordic Walking.
- One study even found that Nordic Walkers walk faster than regular walkers, while also reducing vertical knee joint reaction forces, vertical ground reaction forces, and knee extensor angular impulses.
There are two safety aspects that you must pay attention to when engaging in Nordic Walking.
The first has to do with choosing the right equipment. As mentioned earlier, you need to use poles specifically built for Nordic Walking.
It is ineffective to compensate by using ski poles or other types of poles. Also, chose poles that fit you best.
To determine this, you can test the poles by getting a hold of the grip and placing the tip on the floor. Bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle. Then, move around to see how the process feels. If your movements feel fluid, you’ve found the right fit.
For more details on the right fit, you can go online and visit sites that can guide you in choosing the proper poles. Generally, you need to pick poles based on your height. However, as a rule of thumb, if you’re between two sizes, go with the shorter one.
Nordic Walking poles also have two strap sides, on the right and left. Choose the side that works best for you. The next step is to grip the pole by properly securing the strap. When walking, the grip on the poles must be firm.
If you’re going to walk on smooth surfaces, choose poles with rubber tips to prevent slipping. You can remove the rubber tips if you shift to a rough surface later.
The second aspect of safety has to do with achieving proper form.
There are few fundamental things you need to learn with Nordic Walking. For starters, you need to coordinate your arms and legs. Start by simply carrying the poles alongside your body. Let them swing along with your hands as you walk. Gradually, the whole process will start to feel natural.
After you achieve a level of comfort, you can start placing the poles on the ground. Hold the grips and set the poles at an angle of 45 degrees towards the back. Position the elbows near the body and keep your arms straight.
YOUTUBE (Sikana English):
Now, start pushing the poles backward for every forward step you take. Push your arms beyond your hips and as you swing your arms, open your hands. When the arms move forward, try to assume a position that is similar to as you would when reaching out for a handshake.
Keep tweaking your form as you go along. When walking, first place your heels on the ground and then, your toes.
Take longer strides for more arm swing and an improved leg workout.
You can engage in Nordic Walking anywhere. There are no specific locations you need to go to. Nordic Walking instructors can guide you if you require more assistance. They offer more tips for better results. Most of them will give you an introductory session to help you make sure that it’s the right workout for you.
Also, look around your neighborhood or city for Nordic Walking groups. Members can help you learn the process, and you can even join them on group walks, which is great for your social life as well.