Nope, we’re not talking about going for a hike in Norway (although that would be pretty fun). Nordic Walking is actually a method of walking which is used by everyday people, as well as professional athletes. It has been used for hundreds of years but was only officially defined in 1979. It started off as a ski training activity in the off-season but has since taken over the world, with more and more people trying it every year. Could you be next?
How to: Nordic Walking
The reason why Nordic Walking is so attractive to trained athletes is that it works so many more muscles than normal walking. Rather than a hobby, it is a fitness technique that requires the walker to propel themselves forward using poles. Not only do these poles offer support and extra balance to the walker, but they also give the walker the opportunity to work harder and use upper body muscles to move the poles and push themselves.
Although Nordic Walking does not require a lot of equipment or money, there are certain items that you will need to buy to enable you to get the most out of it. Of course, you will need proper walking shoes. Whether these be comfortable trainers or specially designed walking boots is up to you, but we would recommend breaking them in and testing them before going on a long walk (the last thing you want are horrible blisters!) You will also need to buy specially designed walking poles. Although they may look the same as your normal walking or trekking poles, they are different. Nordic Walking poles focus more on the wearer and try to use it as an extension of the body, rather than an accessory.
This means that you will need to make sure the pole shaft, the basket/paw, and the grip/hand strap are in sync with your body. Never buy them online! You will need to go to a proper retailer to make sure it is comfortable, as well as the right size for you. Otherwise, you will not reap the right benefits.
Why: Nordic Walking
The best thing about Nordic Walking is that it can be done by anyone, no matter your age or fitness level. Whether you want to try something new, or if you’re recovering from an injury, or whether you want to push your body and your muscles even further, you will always benefit from Nordic Walking. Nordic Walking has proven so popular because of the numerous health benefits. Here are just a few of them:
- Tones both the lower and the upper body
- The action of Nordic Walking uses 90% of your muscles
- Nordic Walking burns 46% more calories than normal walking
- Using the poles will reduce the pressure on joints, especially the knees
As well as this, Nordic Walking will allow you to reap other benefits which can improve your livelihood, including:
- You can go for a Nordic Walk anywhere – whether it’s down the road, in the woods, in the country, or up the mountains
- It’s relatively cheap
- You can use it as a social incentive.
- Grab a few friends and go for a Nordic walk!
- You get out and about in nature, which boosts your mood.
Although Nordic Walking is the kind of activity you can do yourself, you do need to be able to do it properly to reap the right benefits. If you do it wrong, it will be a waste of your time. So if you’re thinking about taking up Nordic Walking, make sure you find an instructor or class to teach you the basics before you go out by yourself. Once you’ve learned them, you’ll fall in love with it in no time.