If you always wanted to get on skis but for some reason, but didn’t dare, the next best thing is Nordic walking. If you are an active skier missing the snow and the full-body workout, Nordic walking can also be used as a makeshift throughout the snowless months of the summer.
But Nordic walking is most beneficial to patients that are recovering from injuries and individuals that want an easy-entrance form of exercise that will help them to get fit and lose weight. Nordic walking, essentially, activates more muscle groups than ordinary walking – and can be even than brisk walking when it comes to improving your health and fitness.
Nordic walking is a sport that is extremely popular in the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Finland. In recent years, the phenomenon has become widespread in other countries, mainly thanks to a series of studies that have determined the health benefits of nordic walking.
If you’re finding your walking pattern a bit monotonous, and you fancy a change, then you might like to try a different form of walking. Nordic walking is extremely easy, but you will still need some prior knowledge and therefore we offer you basic tips to get you started with Nordic walking.
Poles are the most essential equipment for Nordic walking training. It is important that you take poles for Nordic walking and not for hiking. The difference is minimal, but it affects the performance. Nordic walking poles have a space for the thumb on the wristband itself and provide support when walking in order to perform the technique correctly and avoid the pole running away.
At the top of the Nordic walking stick, there is rubber in the shape of a boot, which is used so that when training on concrete or asphalt, they have better contact with the surface and achieve a better impression. You can take the rods in one piece, although there are two-piece and three-piece rods that are easier to transport because they fold up.
Determine the proper length by multiplying your height in centimetres by 0.68 to get the length you need to use the poles properly. Nordic walking poles are quickly becoming an essential part of the sports bag. The experiences of the Nordics are such that after they have mastered the technique, it is “strange” for them to walk without them.
Nordic walking has been shown to help burn 18% more calories than regular walking.
Why? The use of the poles forces you to use more muscles which results in more movement and thus burns more calories. So even though it may feel a little uncomfortable at first, use the poles to push yourself forward.
Using your hands also provide momentum to drive you forward which encourages you to walk faster. The movement made with your shoulders in relation to your natural stride transfers from the elbow to the hand.
The coordination of arms, legs, and trunk is similar to that of normal walking. The difference is that the movements of the arms and legs take place more energetically. Furthermore, the span of the arms is slightly longer, and thus the length of the steps.
Pay attention to the coordination of the arm with the opposite leg. When you are not paying attention, this happens naturally. As you move with the sticks, keep your hands open and your body will just follow the movement. Place the stick correctly – the stick is placed on the ground at an angle of 45 degrees between the feet.
The technique itself is best learned with someone who knows the technique because you can’t watch yourself to see if you’re doing it right. Of course, you can learn the technique with the help of a video in your own home and with the help of a mirror, but you are limited by space and it is always better to seek tuition from a qualified instructor.
Adequate Clothing And Footwear
As with any form of walking, you should wear footwear that is appropriate for the surface you will be walking on. If you join a Nordic walking club, take note of where the walk is so you take the most appropriate footwear with you. You can perform Nordic walking on the beach, forest or countryside. It’s not necessarily an activity reserved for hill walking.
Also, dress comfortably. Sports shirts and training leggings/trainers made of non-cotton materials are recommended for Nordic walking. When you sweat, cotton quickly absorbs and retains sweat, and a cotton t-shirt dries slowly.
When it comes to footwear, there are certain properties that are important – that the sneakers have stability, cushioning, and good ventilation. Running shoes and walking shoes are good choices for this type of activity. You don’t need to buy expensive equipment, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable during training and that you are comfortable in the clothes you are moving in.
Wherever you are, with comfortable, stable trainers, layered clothing, and poles, you can practice Nordic walking in nature, an increasingly popular choice of physical activity. Prepare yourself by researching the best Nordic walking trails in your area.
Now that you know how to start Nordic walking, it’s up to you to take the first steps of Nordic walking and improve your health.