Nordic walking is regular walking using (special) poles. As easy as the term and method are, the more effective is this novel type of movement that was introduced here from Scandinavia. A fifth of the whole Finnish population regularly performs this sport and more and more Swedish citizens switch from roller skiing to “pole walking”, which is the term used there for Nordic walking. Without any special additional effort or material expenses, classic walking turns into a highly effective whole body workout and is therefore associated with ideal training effects.
Nordic manufacturer developed a range of special Nordic walking poles with a special wrist strap, hardened tips and absorbing street buffers (asphalt pads).
Nordic walking combines regular walking with the advantages of skiing – without the need for snow – while achieving an optimal training effect comparable to running, but without the negative impact on the joints, in particular the knees. The whole body is set into a swinging motion, almost all muscles of the upper body are used, thus distributing the exerted force equally across the whole organism. You automatically move forward much faster without the exertion of a significantly greater amount of force. This is precisely the potential of this gentle form of motion which can be used by anyone, irrespective of age, gender, athletic experience or local conditions. This is supplemented by the new findings of the beneficial effect of light physical movement on the brain performance, including at an advanced age in people without previous training experience.
There is no need to work your fingers to the bone to become or remain physically fit; simply find some time when it is convenient for you to go on a hike with your poles. Some stretching after the exercise round off the training. No other exercises are required for general fitness.
Nordic walking alone provides a comprehensive workout: the whole cardiac circulation as well as all muscles are trained, while the joints are protected. Besides the achieved body fitness, synergetic forces act on the mental condition; as the pounds start to drop, your charisma will grow, you will feel better all-around and – it will be noticeable!
The key advantages of Nordic walking at a glance:
• is easy to learn and offers instant benefits,
• can be practiced everywhere and any time alone or as a group,
• is almost twice as effective as walking without poles, burns >400 kcal/h compared to only 280 burnt with regular walking,
• increases the pulse to an optimal level for burning fat and is therefore perfectly suited as active measure to loose weight,
• relieves the musculoskeletal system and is therefore particularly suitable for overweight persons or people with knee and back trouble,
• relieves muscle tensions in the shoulder and neck area, instead tightehning the muscles there as well as in the arms,
• helps preserve bone density and smoothness of the joints,
• trains the aerobic endurance while strengthening the cardiac circulation and invigorating the upper body musculature,
• improves the general level of fitness and endurance, even at low speeds,
• trains the sense of balance and teaches a secure gait, including on slippery terrain,
• is the most suitable outdoor sport for rehabilitation after sports injuries,
• is one of the safest forms of movement associated with a minimal risk for accidents and offers protection against burglars who can be fended off easily with the poles,
• facilitates socialising with friendly people who are smiling at you and discussing the weather – missing snow – etc. with you,
• mobilises your vitality and clears the path…
The Nordic walking equipment
The use of poles makes walking an even more effective whole body workout. The poles are made of high-quality composite materials, such as a mixture of carbon and glass fibres. The use of this material combination ensures a very low weight, extreme resilience and durability. In contrast to the much cheaper metal poles, the use of these poles does not transmit any interfering oscillations to your arms. According to the recommendations of one of the leading manufacturers, the ideal pole length is approximately 70% of the body height; while the preferable height is only about 68% in my opinion and based on the opinion of other course instructors, at least for beginners and less versed walkers. Longer poles may be preferred by faster walkers who are performing Nordic walking as a sport.
The specially designed wrist straps allow the effortless use of the poles, including for longer distances. The wrist straps can easily be adjusted to all directions and to any hand. The pole handle is fitted ergonomically; with the support of the wrist straps you only need to take a hold of the handle shortly before planting the pole and can let go of the handle immediately after swinging the arms back. This movement sequence makes sure that the arm muscles do not tire excessively or are even overloaded due to pain.
Different pole tips are used depending on the characteristics of the underground: metal tips made of special hard
Widia steel are used for field or forest trails, while so-called rubber pads which can easily be put on and removed are used for smooth, hard underground such as asphalt.