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Nordic Walking Benefits And How To Do It

Nordic walking is essentially a type of exercise that requires the simple act of walking and using skiing poles. Sounds bizarre, but it can actually be much more effective at burning calories compared to walking alone.

This type of exercise works several muscles, promotes heart health, improves coordination, and supports stability. It can be done on wooded trails, grassy terrains, and your neighborhood sidewalk.


Nordic Walking: What Is It? & The Benefits

Nordic walking is popular in Scandinavia and is a form of training for cross-country skiers. It drew U.S. attention as it’s been deemed an effective workout.

To do this yourself, you have to walk with ski poles in each hand and move each arm with the movement of the opposite leg. To keep the poles in front of you, you need core and arm strength, which can be challenging but very effective.

You burn more calories and work more muscles with Nordic walking than with regular walking. It’s a popular exercise among older adults in many parts of Europe as it is a great way to maintain good cardiovascular health.

Here are just a few of the benefits of practicing Nordic walking:


Gets You Outside & Better Heart Health

Exercising outdoors can have lots of physiological and psychological benefits. Outdoor activity could help prevent multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency.

Practice Nordic walking anywhere with the ground; trails, mountains, or your neighborhood.

In 1,800 patients analyzed, Nordic walking showed to be beneficial for blood pressure and resting heart rate, according to a review published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This was in comparison to going on brisk walks.


Improved Stability & Upper Body Workout

Using poles when walking can better your balance and posture, which could be beneficial for those who struggle with back, leg, and knee problems. This type of exercise can also improve balance ability, muscle strength, and improve the overall quality of life in adults over the age of 60.

In patients with Parkinson’s disease, one study found that six weeks of Nordic walking improved gait, functional performance, and overall quality of life.

A twelve-week Nordic walking training regimen was reported to increase shoulder mobility and lessen soreness in upper body muscles in a randomized experiment. In contrast to walking with weights, Nordic walking does not strain the upper body.


Increases Calorie Burn & What You Need

There can be an increase of up to 20 percent more calories burned when practicing Nordic walking. According to a 2019 study, Nordic walking can significantly reduce upper body and leg fat in comparison to normal walking. It was also concluded that obesity could be counteracted with this type of exercise.

Nordic poles come in different materials and with different features. Some have gloves attached at the ends, or with grips and straps. They’re made out of lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum which make for better shock absorption.

Other poles have pointed or rubber tips, which are best for sidewalks or paved trails. Some are collapsible so they’re great for traveling.


Techniques & Starting Slow

  • Single poling. The pole and the opposing foot both travel up at the same time. As you get adjusted to the rhythm, you can pick up speed and intensity.
  • Double poling. This entails symmetrically placing both poles in front of you while walking and pulling yourself forward. Take a few steps forward to meet the poles and place them in front of you again, repeating the process.

If you’re just starting out, go slow at first and build up over some time. Try out different poles to see which one suits you best. After you find your rhythm, you can increase your speed. Just be careful in case you feel dizzy or too tired and need to stop.


In Summary

Nordic walking can have so many benefits for overall health and quality of life. It’s travel-friendly, so you can practice it anywhere in the world as long as you have poles. There are different techniques you can try out, as well as different types of poles to use. So, get out there and reap the potential benefits of Nordic walking.