Nordic Walking, spicing up your walk and taking it into 4-wheel drive
Nordic Walking contributes to more muscle involvement with both your upper and lower body propelling you forward. Because of its versatility and adaptability Nordic Walking provides a total body workout for young and older adults, athletes to individuals with medical conditions.
Nordic Walking started out as a summer training exercise for cross country skiers. Nordic Walking compared to normal walking utilizes 20% more of the body's muscles during each workout (70 % vs. 90%) and is one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts because it works all major muscle groups in the body.
With each pole-plant there is a co-contraction of the abdominals and other core muscles. Use of the poles creates more of a cardiac workout. As the person uses the poles, there is a corresponding increase in heart rate, and the person does not have to walk faster to get a better workout and burn more calories.
Nordic Walking Health and Wellness Benefits
Nordic Walking is a "total-body" exercise, the arms become weight-bearing forces boosting bone density and muscle strength in the upper body. All four limbs (including feet and hands) are being used; gluteals, abdominals and trunk muscles, as well as the muscles of your shoulders, back and neck.
Nordic Walking skills contributes to better posture, bone density, joint range of motion, cardiovascular health, upper and lower body muscle endurance, enhances your step length, arm swing, heel strike and toe push-off, brain health, weight-loss and weight management, etc. The 'Grip and Go' technique a rhythmic contraction and relaxation phase with each step increases circulation of your blood and lymph system.
Athletes, Active Agers and Nordic Walking
Learning the Nordic Walking technique benefits not just your overall walking ability, Nordic Walking started in Finland in the early 20th century as a summer training exercise for cross country skiers. A Finnish company, in cooperation with athletes and sports medicine experts, invented a new wrist strap system to make the Nordic Walking technique possible.
Seniors and Nordic Walking
Nordic Walking when learned correctly can help many seniors not only improve in walking ability, upright posture and forward directed gaze, improved joint range of motion and flexibility, the exercise also improves cardiovascular and muscular endurance which in turn benefit brain health and helps to prevent dementia.
Nordic Walking with Medical Conditions
Nordic Walking is used in myriad ways to address a number of exercise interventions and diagnoses. The poles provide stability and a lower-extremity unloading effect that is beneficial in the later stages of hip, knee and ankle rehabilitation. Nordic Walking is used in the treatment of instability of the pelvis, of whiplash, fibromyalgia, chronic back problems, Parkinson's, diabetes, cancer to combat lymphedema, etc. It is advantageous for low back rehabilitation, benefits bone health, posture, and brain health.
Footwear & Clothing
Wear comfortable walking or outdoor trail shoes. The sole must have good grip and waterproofing is a good idea. Walking boots can be problematic if the upper part covering the ankle is stiff or the laces around the neck of the boot are tied too tight as this can impair free movement of the lower leg over the ankle.
Lightweight clothing appropriate for the weather conditions on the day, light gloves, a hat and a waterproof jacket for cold and wet weather and suncream/block and sunglasses in sunny weather. It is better to wear several light layers of clothing and avoid lose and long fitting jackets.
Back pack-waist pack
Carry your personal belongings and water in a waist bag or back pack.
References: ANWA, ILWA