Nordic walking is a sport-recreational activity of a cyclic nature and a natural form of movement that takes place with the help of walking poles. It was created in Finland at the end of the 90s as supplementary training for skiers in the summer.
Unlike normal walking, where the upper part of the body is relatively passive, Nordic walking activates the muscles of the back, shoulders, and arms much more. The trademark of Nordic walking is walking sticks. It can be carried out on most terrains, and in combination with nature and fresh air, it is extremely beneficial to our health.
Since it is suitable for recreational programs of all age categories, you can enjoy it all year round, be it summer or winter, anywhere and at any time, independently or in a group. Here’s why it is better than regular walking and why you should maybe give it a try.
Greater Muscle Activation
Nordic walking combines cardiovascular exercises with the activation of the shoulder, arm, trunk, and leg muscles. When walking without sticks, only the muscles below the waist are activated. When you add poles, Nordics also activate other muscles of the upper body, as much as 80 to 90 per cent of the muscles, as opposed to 50 per cent when you “just” walk.
Of course, greater muscle activation also affects better calorie burning, according to some research, even 67 per cent more compared to classic walking, which is also effective. By involving a large number of muscles due to the use of sticks, a greater amount of energy is consumed (from 400 to 450 kcal per hour of activity), in contrast to normal walking, which consumes 250 to 300 kcal.
Reduction And Elimination Of Body Fat
Nordic walking has also been linked to the reduction and elimination of body fat, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and a smaller waistline. Therefore, the indications are regulation of “good” HDL cholesterol, an increase in endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility, strengthening of the cardiovascular system, and overall, a better quality of life.
Energy consumption at medium speed is 20 per cent higher than normal walking at the same speed, and if the speed of Nordic walking is increased, with the application of the correct technique, 45 per cent more kcal can be consumed. The activation of the cardiovascular system is greater, so the heart rate increases by 10 to 15 per cent. This fact is particularly important for people with increased body mass, who could thus regulate excess weight.
Reduced risk of falling
As we get older we are more likely to trip and fall when we are walking, mainly because of a decrease in muscle strength, balance issues, and problems with the way we walk.
The use of poles enables greater stability because the support surface important for maintaining balance while walking increases, thus reducing the risk of falls, which are potentially dangerous for the occurrence of fractures.
Positive Effect On The Movement
In addition to functional abilities, Nordic walking also has a positive effect on the movement system. The use of walking sticks and the active participation of the arms and shoulders reduce the load on the lower extremities, especially the knee, hip, and spine joints.
This feature is important for people who have problems with the joints of the lower extremities (various injuries, after surgery, etc.) because it enables more movement with a reduction in pain and the risk of injury.
Nordic walking is a cardio training of mild intensity, during which our heart rate never goes into multiple zones like when running, but stays at the ideal 60% of the maximum load. This is ideal because it is at this stage that the most fat is consumed.