Published on February 16th, 2014 | by Margaret Pardoe0
Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, Nordic walking is a full-body exercise that’s easy to do and protects your joints. Nordic walking was originally a summer training regime for cross-country skiers. It’s based on using specially designed walking poles in a way that harnesses the power of the upper body in order to propel you forward as you walk.
Now it’s a recognised way to turn a walk into whole body exercise that can be done by anybody, just about anywhere.
Classes range from gentle walks for people with health concerns, to workout walks, which are a great way to improve fitness, lose weight and tone the whole body.
You’ walk using a pair of Nordic walking poles (which are different to those used for trekking due to how you use the strap and the angle you plant them on the ground), plus walking shoes or boot and clothes to suit the climate.
If you are in a class, instructors generally provide the poles but you can buy good quality ones from about £30.
When properly used, the poles take the weight off the knees and lower body joints – this makes you feel lighter on your feet.
You move in a similar way to ordinary walking and swing your arms from your shoulder with your elbows straight – similar to marching. To get the full benefits and avoid injury, start with a couple of lessons to get the basic technique.
Similar to other forms of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, regular Nordic walking can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Nordic walking, like any other form of exercise, can also be used as part of an exercise programme to lose weight.
Nordic walking is no harder on the joints than walking. It’s an activity suitable for those with joint conditions or who may be carrying some extra body weight.
Nordic walking can be done in any location, urban or rural, but it’s recommended that you learn the technique from a qualified instructor. They often offer taster sessions so that you can make sure it’s something that’s right for you first. Most instructors also run local groups, which you can join for regular walks once you have learned the technique. Find an instructor on the websites of Nordic Walking UK or British Nordic Walking.