January 19, 2017

Nordic walking is an all-weather activity that is cheap, accessible and provides an effective cardiovascular and muscular workout as well as contributing to weight loss alongside healthy eating. It’s also low impact and safe for both young and old.

Health Facts

Nordic walking:
  • burns 40% more calories and is 25% more demanding than regular walking
  • Is proven to lower body mass index in 12 weeks
  • Is the perfect way of getting the heart rate and respiration up to the level required for cardiac protection
  • combines aerobic exercise with toning targeting arms, particularly the triceps or bingo wings, as well as abdominals, waist, chest, bottom, hips and thighs
  • is found to reduce waist circumference in women

Tips

  • Start Nordic walking for 30 minutes three times a week.
  • Pre-walking warm-up moves include rolling your neck, circling your shoulders and ankles.
  • Stick to flat pavement for your first few Nordic walks, and then mix things up by adding in hills or heading off-road to a park or nature reserve. Initially, keep to well-trodden paths and then gradually progress to more uneven and challenging surfaces such as wooded trails, coastal footpaths and steeper inclines.
  • Ensure you have the correct sized poles which are determined by height, length of stride, fitness level and terrain to be walked.  As a general rule, the length of pole will be about 68% of your height and when holding the poles correctly, your lower arm (from wrist to elbow) should be parallel with the ground.
  • The straps on the tops of the poles have to be adjusted so they fit your hand comfortably and do not rub anywhere. Wear thin gloves as your hands can get cold and the straps can sometimes rub.
  • Once your straps have been adjusted start to get used to the feel of the poles while walking by dragging the poles behind you to get an idea of their weight.
  • The next stage is to then start mastering your basic walking technique by getting the poles to ‘plant’ in the correct way e.g. getting the poles to land in the correct position when you are walking with them. The poles should ideally be ‘planted’ mid-stride, between your front and back foot at an angle of about 45 degrees.
  • Start off slowly and only pick up your pace when you feel able. Initially, walk holding your poles but without allowing them to touch the ground. When you are comfortably swinging your arms and legs smoothly, start to ground the poles. Remember, the pole on the left should hit the ground at the same time as your right foot.
  • Arms also need to move correctly. The movement has to come from your shoulders like you are going to shake someone’s hand. 
  • The next level to the technique is to start pushing off from the poles, planting them more firmly and pushing them back past your hips so that you can feel how the poles help propel the body forward.
  • Thirty minutes of Nordic walking for an average woman burns 165 calories. Like any form of exercise, Nordic walking is only beneficial if you do it often enough. If it is going to be your main form of exercise, you should aim to clock up around 15-miles of walking per week so you experience all the health and fitness benefits this activity has to offer.

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