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Nordic Walking – What To Know About Its & Its Benefits?

Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • Nordic walking is an upgrade to regular walking that offers additional health benefits.
  • It utilizes two poles that are held diagonally backward while walking. These poles match the steps and propel the body forward.
  • This workout engages the upper body and core and strengthens these muscles, unlike regular walking, which is a lower body workout only.
  • Moreover, this technique burns more calories in the same time duration without feeling extra strenuous.
  • Other benefits of this exercise technique include better heart health, reduced limb pain, and improved balance and posture.
  • Moreover, this low-impact exercise is suitable for everyone, including older people and those suffering from heart disorders.
  • Everyone can try out this exercise form for better overall health.

Overview Of Nordic Walking

The modern urban lifestyle is sedentary and breeds the risk of various diseases. If your lifestyle lacks ample exercise and a healthy diet, and your everyday stress levels are high, you are at a greater risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

A Nordic Walking workout is a great way to improve your health and reduce the risk of various diseases. It is an easy workout that can fit into the busiest of schedules but is extremely beneficial for your overall health and well-being. Essentially, it is an upgrade to your regular walking routine with added benefits. Here is everything you need to know about this simple yet effective exercise form.

What Is Nordic Walking And How Is It Different From Regular Walking?

The Nordic walking technique is an upgrade to regular walking, where two poles are used to exercise the upper body along with the lower body. These poles are used to match the steps while walking and remain behind the body like an extension to the arms.

They help the individual improve their upper body strength, stability, and posture while walking. A great benefit of this exercise form is that it offers a full-body workout without requiring much additional effort compared to regular walking. In fact, according to studies[1], this walking technique can be effective to tackle obesity without the subjects experiencing any additional exertion compared to walking.

Many individuals are not comfortable going to the gym or performing high-intensity workouts. However, brisk walking as an exercise is considered simple enough by many such people. Moreover, it is an enjoyable form of exercise that can easily fit into anybody’s routine.

By adding Nordic Walking poles to this daily exercise, you can make it even more beneficial for your overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

So, upgrade your power walking routine with simple equipment and enjoy additional health benefits.

A Beginner’s Guide To Nordic Walking

Guide To Nordic Walking

To experience all the Nordic Walking benefits, all you need are a good pair of walking shoes and walking poles. These poles serve as extensions to your arms, propelling your body forward as you walk. Therefore, you need to position them behind your body and match their movements with your steps as you walk.

As a beginner, you can join a class to master the Nordic Walking technique. Once you learn the technique, you can replace regular walking with this exercise. It will help you burn more calories, keep you more stable while walking, and keep various diseases at bay.

How Does Nordic Walking Improve Heart Health?

Unlike high-intensity and high-impact workouts, which may not be suitable for everyone, Nordic exercise is a workout that is suitable for heart patients, including individuals above 65 years of age. Patients with heart disease suffer from decreased heart capacity, which affects the amount of oxygen and nutrients the heart supplies to different body parts.

Exercise can strengthen the heart and improve its capacity in these scenarios, and a Nordic Walking workout is suitable for these patients.

According to studies[2], this exercise can improve peak heart rate and respiratory exchange ratio in subjects. It can increase the maximum heart rate at the same pace as walking without the subject feeling more exertion. Therefore, it can boost the subject’s heart health and encourage faster recovery after a heart attack without increasing the intensity of exercise.

Not only do the Nordic Walking benefits include better calorie expenditure and muscle strengthening, but also the fact that they offer added benefits over walking without requiring additional effort. Hence, this exercise is ideal for those who cannot perform high-intensity exercise, including patients recovering from a disease.

What Is The Nordic Walking Technique And Required Equipment?

A few things to keep in mind about Nordic exercise:

  • You do not need to hold the poles; they should dangle from straps on your wrists.
  • The poles should always be behind your body, pointing diagonally backward.

Now, you need to match the motion of the Nordic Walking Poles to your steps as described below:

  • Start with your shoulders relaxed and the poles held close to your body.
  • Move your leading foot forward, and at the same time, your opposite arm should swing forward.
  • As the opposite arm swings forward, the opposite pole should hit the ground behind your body at the same time as your opposite foot.
  • Swing the pole backward as much as possible to propel your body forward.
  • Repeat the motion with your other foot and the other pole.
Power walking

To enjoy this upgraded format of power walking, you can consider various equipment options:

  • Glove or strap-based release systems
  • Variable or fixed length poles
  • Poles made of aluminum or carbon fiber
  • No grip or a streamlined, narrow grip
  • Spike tips or rubber tips as per the walking surface
  • Optional cushioning systems

Depending on your preference and the terrain in which you are performing the Nordic exercise, you can choose between these equipment options.

Difference Between Nordic Walking And Trekking

While Nordic Walking workouts and trekking may seem similar, the equipment and techniques are quite different. In trekking, the poles are placed ahead of the body to offer support while climbing or walking. On the other hand, in NW, the poles are placed behind the body to propel the body forward while walking.

Additionally, trekking is more suitable for uneven, rocky terrains, while the Nordic Walking technique has been designed for even, smoother terrains. Therefore, the poles used in both the exercise forms are different too.

Trekking poles have shock absorbers, ergonomic grips, and metal tips that are suitable for uneven terrain. Nordic walking poles do not have shock absorbers but have narrow grips and paw-like tips for better propulsion on even terrains.

While trekking may require prior training due to the difficult terrain, Nordic exercise is more suitable for a bigger set of people as it is not more strenuous than regular brisk walking. Therefore, it is an easier upgrade to your regular workout, as opposed to trekking, which requires more physical agility and stamina.

Health Benefits Of Nordic Walking

Benefits Of Nordic Walking

1. Burns More Calories

One of the top Nordic Walking benefits is that it can help you burn more calories than regular walking without added effort. You will not feel more exertion than you do after regular walking but will end up burning more calories in the same duration. So, it is a better alternative for those wanting to lose weight.

2. Improves Upper Body Strength

Unlike regular power walking, which only exercises the lower body, NW exercises the upper body as well. Hence, it converts walking into a full-body workout that engages the arms and the core. Moreover, it offers these additional benefits without being more strenuous than regular walking, thereby being a better choice.

3. Reduces The Risk Of Injury

You may trip and fall during brisk walking due to accidents or if your body loses its balance. However, Nordic walking poles offer extra support to the body, reducing the risk of tripping and falling. Moreover, they also help to improve your balance and posture.

4. Improves Heart Health

Improved heart health is one of the top Nordic walking benefits. This exercise form increases your maximum heart rate and improves heart strength without having to perform a high-intensity workout. Therefore, it is suitable for patients suffering from cardiovascular disorders.

5. Reduces Limb Pain

If you usually get limb pain after power walking, it may be reduced with the help of NW poles. It is because the poles help with better weight distribution while walking and may reduce the strain on your back, hips, and knees.

6. Increases Walking Speed

The Nordic Walking Workout helps you walk faster due to the extra propulsion provided by the poles. Therefore, it is more suitable for those who find it difficult to run or perform high-impact exercises.

FAQs About Nordic Walking

The Nordic Walking technique is different from regular walking as it uses two poles to propel the body forward while walking. It exercises the upper body, improves balance and posture, and burns more calories than regular walking.

Yes, the Nordic walking workout burns more calories than regular brisk walking for the same duration. Moreover, you may not feel any extra exertion due to this walking technique while you end up burning more calories and exercising your whole body.

Yes, Nordic Walking poles allow better weight distribution while walking. Hence, they may reduce the load on the joints and minimize limb pain. Plus, it is a low-impact exercise that is suitable for patients with arthritis.

Yes, Nordic walking benefits make it superior to regular walking. It burns more calories, strengthens the upper body and core, boosts heart health, and improves balance and posture compared to regular walking.

What Are The 10 Steps Of Nordic Walking?

The 10 steps of Nordic exercise are:

  • Relax your shoulders.
  • Hold the poles close to your body.
  • Loosen your hands to let the poles swing forward.
  • Move the leading foot forward.
  • Swing the opposite arm forward.
  • Opposite pole and foot strike the ground.
  • Poles remain diagonally backward.
  • Push the pole back as much as possible.
  • Lengthen the stride behind the body.
  • Loosen your arms.

Conclusion

The Nordic Walking technique is an excellent way to get more out of your regular walking workout without added effort. With the help of two poles that support your body and propel it forward, you can burn more calories, strengthen your upper body, and improve your heart health with this simple workout.

Additionally, this workout improves balance and posture, reduces the risk of injury, and minimizes the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Therefore, it is an excellent upgrade to power walking without you having to strain yourself.

This exercise technique requires similar efforts as walking but strengthens the whole body and gives the results of a more strenuous workout. So, replace your regular walks with this Nordic technique to reap additional health benefits.

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