Physical activities are very important if we want to stay fit and healthy. And today, it is so easy to find a proper way to train yourself since a huge variety of options exists!
One of them is called Nordic walking and this type of training is getting more and more popular among elderly people and young men and women.
What is it and where it came from?
We will answer these and other questions.
Origin And History
As you probably already guessed from its name, Nordic walking came to us from the North, originally from Finland. Nevertheless, today it is very widespread all over the Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Sweden, or Norway.
With this sort of fitness activity, even elderly people can cover long distances and even walk several miles fast enough. Initially, this kind of fitness training was used by the skiers to get ready for the competitions and it was a part of a cross-country training program.
Additional info: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/fitness-trend-nordic-walking
Later, backpackers, as well as trekkers, picked up this idea and started using one-piece ski poles for walking purposes as additional equipment.
Nowadays, special poles for Nordic walking exist to make this training even more effective.
What is even more interesting, this fitness activity has become a worldwide known kind of sport, and today, Nordic walk competitions exist and active walkers can take part in a cup championship!
You can often hear people saying that skiing sticks are the same as those for a Nordic walk, but in fact, it is not like that, and Nordic walking perches are far from the common sticks or even skiing poles.
Unlike the solid ski sticks that were used before, modern Nordic walking ones are way shorter, in addition, they are sold in different variants. One is a non-adjustable core sticks that can have different length, whereas the other is presented by the telescoping counterparts of two or three sections that can be twist-locked. These have an adjustable length.
Solid perches are often stronger and weigh less, on the other hand, one must pick them up so that the poles match the person’s height, and, of course, weight.
Compared to the solid ones, their folding counterparts are easier to transport and besides, they can fit anyone due to the ability to be adjusted according to the user’s needs.
Specifics Of the Activity
What is it so special about this training, people often wonder. Isn’t it a simple walking only with the sticks?
No, friends, it is not the same. When doing a Nordic walk, we use the sticks that regulate the step.
Generally speaking, the movements our bodies do during the Nordic walking are similar to those when we walk without the perches. However, the use of supporting perches regulates the radius of our arms movements which, respectively, influences how long our stride will be.
What we are trying to say is that the limited arm movements will result in the same limited length of the step and overall moves. On the contrary, the further we thrust the perches, the wider the step becomes, and the moves of the upper part of the body become more intensive.
What About the Benefits?
Those who are not familiar with the method might think that pole walking is nothing special but in fact, this kind of training has its specifics.
Unlike common walking, doing that with poles makes us apply force with each stride. It makes us use the entire body instead of just legs and the lower part.
The intensity of exercise stress is higher than of the common walking making our bodies train better.
Nordic walking involves not only legs but also arms (triceps and biceps), shoulder muscles, abdominals, spinal muscles, and many more that are not involved when we walk as usual.
Such kind of more intensive walking makes our heart work better which results in faster improvement of its wellbeing.
When doing Nordic walking, we consume almost fifty percent more energy compared to a normal walk.
This type of walking makes our muscles way stronger compared to conventional walking.
Nordic pole walking is allowed for any age, even for elderly people, if no health restrictions exist.
Even though Nordic pole walking is considered to be one of the safest and healthiest ways of self-training, this fitness activity still has certain restrictions that must be taken into account before you rush to the nearest sports equipment store to get a pair of new poles.
Those who have any serious breathing problems like asthma must consult their doctor before starting Nordic walking. Since this activity involves lungs and thus breathing actively, intensive walks may cause problems for such people.
If you have recently had a heart attack or any other serious heart problem like surgery, etc, we strongly recommend you visit a doctor to figure out whether Nordic walking would be a suitable kind of activity for you at all. Perhaps, you can start doing it somewhat later when you are fully recovered. Otherwise, the doctor can choose more suitable ways of activity for you counting on the health state.
If you now have or recently had any serious leg traumas, it is better to take a break and not start any intensive physical activities until the damaged part of your body is fully recovered.
Additional info: https://www.wellandgood.com/nordic-walking/
For sure, Nordic pole walking is still somewhat new to many Western countries, but this kind of fitness activity is becoming more popular, and that is good.
Providing us with enough activity, making our muscles grow stronger, and keeping the whole body fit, this easy and affordable kind of sport will be beneficial for anyone from children to elderly people.
Nevertheless, we strongly recommend you consult the doctor if you have any doubts about whether you should start doing it regularly, or if you have any serious health issues that can be worsened by this activity.