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The Advantages of Nordic Walking

Apr/23/2023 / by Pratika Yashaswi

While superficially similar to normal walking, they are poles apart in terms of upper body training

Nordic walking
Nordic walking. Shutterstock

Walking is a great way to get started on a weight loss journey, but what if you need something more efficient? In recent times, Nordic walking has become a popular fitness activity, especially among older adults. But what is it?

Nordic walking is the act of using poles while walking along a trail or sidewalk. While regular walking uses the muscles from the waist down, Nordic walking also engages the muscles in the upper body, allowing you to engage 80-90% of the muscles in the body as opposed to the usual 50%. There is also evidence that Nordic walking burns at least 18% more calories than regular walking.

Bespoke Accessories

While Nordic walking is often compared to skiing because of its use of skiing pole-like implements, proper Nordic walking poles have accessories specific to the terrain in your area. Generic skiing poles allow for injury. If adjustable poles are not available, the poles must be long enough to suit your height and allow you to walk comfortably.

Nordic walking uses a majority of the muscles in your body, which can tire fairly quickly. It is recommended that, like with any other exercise, you gauge the capabilities of your body and start small. Fitness coaches suggest starting off with 30-minute walks on flat, comfortable terrains to prevent overworking the body. However, before starting, those with cardiovascular issues should get doctors’ recommendations regarding regimes that fits their health restrictions.

Straps and Other Safety Measures

Specifics, such as the various attachments to choose from, are also important. For instance, older people should use poles with wrist straps. That reduces the risk of dropping the poles. Further, straps allow the poles to naturally return to the right position as long your hands are in the right position as well. The ends of the walking poles can be switched out, depending on the terrain.

Attachable rubber pads are provided for better friction while walking on smooth trails and pavements. On the other hand, metal spikes are better for hiking trails or dirt paths. Terrain appropriate shoes are also important for Nordic walking, and wearing the right ones will reduce the risk of foot damage while walking.

A Matter of Technique

Try to stick to your natural gait when you start. Nordic walking should not change how you walk. You rely on your natural gait, especially the way you normally move your arms.

Experts suggest walking normally while holding the poles in your hands (but without using them) until they feel natural in your hands. Once they do, you can start incorporating Nordic walking into your exercise routine on a daily basis.

Benefits

Nordic walking has several benefits that seem to outweigh even those of jogging or running. First of all, its usage of several muscle groups in the body leads to increased muscle strength after doing it for a period of time. It also increases the intake of oxygen during exercise, which is great for more rigorous exercise as well.

Further, research has shown that after 12 weeks of Nordic walking, individuals were able to take on more rigorous exercise without feeling too much fatigue. If that weren’t enough, it has a positive effect on mood as well.

There are ways to make this activity fun as well. There are Nordic walking groups in several major cities in the USA. These include the American Nordic Walking Association dedicated to bringing together people who want to get into this activity. If there are no Nordic walking groups near you, grab a friend or two to do it with. Exercise can be as fun as it is healthy when done with the right people, and involving others also helps keep you accountable.

Have fun and stay healthy!

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