What is Nordic walking?

nordic walking poles

Getting a full body workout quickly and easily is the goal of men and women across the country. Simply getting out and walking is a healthy way to improve your overall fitness, and if there was a way to get regular walking to involve more of your body (thus improving heart rate, fitness and weight loss), millions of people across the globe would look to this kind of activity to improve their overall health and wellness.

Enter Nordic Walking

Originally known as “ski walking,” Nordic Walking is a form of exercise where walking poles are used in a similar manner to cross country skiing, except on dry ground during all parts of the year.  Over 10 million people have taken up Nordic walking as a form of year-round exercise, especially in Northern Europe.

How Does it Work?

Nordic walking is fairly simple. Using specialized walking poles, you go to an area that you would normally walk (such as a sidewalk or flat walkway) and use the poles to support your weight, allowing you to walk more quickly for longer. The poles also move the energy from your feet and legs and disperse it around your body, giving you more of a full body workout as your arms, shoulders and torso are all used with each movement.

Benefits of Nordic Walking

·        Increased energy consumption with each step.

·        Reduced stress on the knees and joints for longer walking.

·        Improved full body endurance (rather than just leg endurance).

·        Extra balance for those that struggle to maintain their stability.

·        Greater heart rate for any given walking pace.

·        Burns more calories across your body.

·        Less joint discomfort and additional support with hills.

Walking poles make long distance walking and exercising considerably easier, supporting your body as you try to improve your overall fitness. However, despite making walking easier, it still disperses that energy around your body, so calorie burning isn’t decreased. Since you will be experiencing less joint discomfort over the course of your walk, you will be able to walk for longer, allowing you to more easily reach your fitness goals.

The Growth of Nordic Walking

Nordic walking is a relatively new form of exercise, only growing in popularity for the last 20 years. Though it is uncommon in some areas (such as the United States), it is very common in Europe and several countries across the globe due to its ease of use and similarities to cross country skiing – a sport that is very popular in Europe and abroad.

Nordic walking may take some time to get used to, but if you are looking for a full body exercise that you can do year round without adding excess stress on your joints, ski walking has shown itself to be an effective exercise method, and one that has worked for millions of other individuals that have given in a shot. Anyone can learn it and it is used by individuals of all ages and all shapes and sizes.