By now, you are aware of all of the magical health benefits of getting up and getting active by walking every day. So in the spirit of a varied workout routine, I am going to take a look at some of the Health Benefits of Nordic Walking.
What Is Nordic Walking
Nordic walking is a walking technique that utilizes two one-piece walking poles to gain extra leverage, ease pressure on the legs, and build upper body strength while walking. Trekkers, Skiers, and hikers have been using this technique long before 1979, however, this was the year it was formalized as a training routine by Finnish Skiing coach Mauri Repo.
even though Mauri did not invent the technique, nor did he name it Nordic Walking, it’s thanks to his efforts that Nordic Walking became so widespread. Manufacturers started to market trekking poles and in 1997, a company called Exel branded the term “Nordic Walking” and the rest is history.
What Are The Walking Poles?
Often referred to as Trekking Poles, Nordic Walking poles are light-weight, strong, and rigid poles that the walker will hold, one in each hand. The Poles will have strap handles to wrap around your wrists, which is essential to the walking technique. While professional athletes such as skiers will prefer custom one-piece poles because they are stronger and lighter, these are expensive as they need to be tailored to the user.
Much more common in fitness enthusiasts, health walkers, and people who just love to hike, are the telescopic adjustable types. Adjustable walking poles are easier to carry when not in use and cheaper because as a one-size-fits-all option, you can get them straight off the shelf. Most walking poles on the market extend fully to at least 130 CM (which should suit people up to about 190 – 195 in height).
Adjustable poles have the added benefit of flexibility and can be made shorter to tackle steep inclines or longer for downhill walking if necessary.
How To – Nordic Walking
Setting up your poles to the right height is key to maintaining the best form for getting those health benefits of Nordic Walking. Stand up straight with your arms by your side and bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle so your forearms are parallel to the ground and your hands are in front of you. Whilst you are gripping the poles in this position, the straps will be around your wrist, the top of the handles of the poles will be at the top of your hand and the bottom of the pole will be on the ground directly below. If this is not, you need to make the relevant adjustments.
Assuming you have got your walking gear on already, once the poles are set up, you are ready to go. Start by standing still with your back straight and shoulders relaxed naturally. You can drop your arms by your side, keep the straps around your wrist and let the poles drop to the floor behind you. As you step out with your left foot, you will bring your right arm forward until your left foot and bottom of the right-hand walking pole connect with the floor, at this moment you will then grip the handle tight and push down.
As you combine the effort from your right arm and your left foot you will propel forward bringing out your right foot and left hand walking pole out to repeat the process.
If you are struggling to picture it, I found this video on Youtube for learning the basic technique very helpful.
So What Are The Health Benefits Of Nordic Walking?
Whether you are walking for mental health, walking for physical health, or just for general fitness. Nordic Walking can supercharge your existing benefits and provide you with even more healthy advantages
Nordic Walking Can Help to Combat Neck, Shoulder, and Back Problems
If you work in an office, you will probably complete an assessment every year to ensure your chair, your screen, and your mouse and keyboard are set up in a way that protects your posture. However, since most desk-based employees have been working from home for nearly a year, we may have missed our assessments.
Slouching at a desk, sleeping at a weird angle, and/or a lack of physical movement can lead to bad posture. The good news is that adopting the correct Nordic Walking stance leverages the support offered by the poles to keep your back up straight while working the muscles around your spine. Adding 1 weekly session of Nordic Walking to your routine could help you out big time.
Nordic Walking To Protect Your Joints
If you are overweight, have health problems, or are just getting used to a more active routine, Nordic Walking is a great way to lessen the impact of each stride on your knees, hips, and ankles. While you are walking your legs are carrying the burden of your entire weight, so with every step, the push-off will increase that burden, especially downhill.
Because Nordic Walking, brings the upper body into play, it lessens the impact on your lower body. So while the overall effort required for Nordic Walking is significantly more than regular walking, your legs have an easier job.
Nordic Walking For Weight Loss
As with walking, you can moderate your effort while Nordic Walking, raise your heart rate to your optimal fat burning zone. Maintaining your bpm at this rate for prolonged periods will optimize your workout to burn excess body fat. However, if you are looking at walking as a high-intensity workout, Nordic Walking might be a step ahead (pun intended).
As well as targetting your legs, Nordic Walking takes aim at the arms, shoulders, and upper chest and back muscles through a full range of motion. Pushing yourself harder to raise your heart rate to a higher BPM will burn more calories and tone more muscles. In fact, Nordic Walking is considered to be a form of Cross-Training.
The Non Health Benefits of Nordic Walking.
You can take part in Nordic Walking almost anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. It is easy to learn and you don’t even need to wear any special clothing (although if you are going to get sweaty…)
So what are you waiting for, with all of the magnificent Health Benefits of Nordic Walking, if you are walking for health, it cannot be ignored. Grab a set of walking poles and get going!!
Let me know your thoughts on Nordic Walking in the Comments below. Maybe you already take part or are interested in giving it a go. either way, I would love to hear from you.