Nordic walking is a full-body exercise that uses special poles to activate your upper body as you walk, while simultaneously raising your heart rate. Nordic walking is becoming increasingly popular as a cardio and strength-training exercise. It is also the ideal approach to get the most out of your walks as it provides incredible benefits for both strength and cardiovascular fitness. It does, however, necessitate a specific technique and the appropriate tools.
What Is Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking was founded in Finland in the 1930s as a way for cross-country skiers to train outside of the season. You use specially designed walking poles to take the weight off your knees and lower body joints during a session, allowing you to feel lighter on your feet, increase speed, and get a full-body workout. It’s become a popular way for people of all ages and fitness levels to turn a stroll into a more effective workout.
Why Is Nordic Walking Better Than Just Going On A Walk?
Nordic walking offers a lot of health benefits since it incorporates cardiovascular exercise as well as a vigorous muscle workout for your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. When we walk normally, we only use the lower half of our bodies. When you use the specific Nordic walking poles, you start to use your upper body muscles as well.
Here are some benefits of Nordic walking;
- Low Impact
For those with joint problems or arthritis, Nordic walking may be a useful alternative to typical types of cardio exercise. The poles can help redistribute weight, reduce joint loading, and boost muscle strength while walking. This could assist to relieve the pain that occurs with prolonged high-impact exercise like running.
- Good For Heart Health
Nordic walking is a low-impact exercise that can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness. Your body requires more blood to be pumped out through your heart when you use your upper-body muscles, requiring higher utilisation of your cardiorespiratory system.
When compared to traditional walking, Nordic walking appears to only slightly increase your rate of perceived exhaustion — meaning you don’t notice a significant difference in intensity despite your body working harder.
- Full-body Workout
Nordic walking works both the upper and lower body muscles, giving it a great full-body workout. Lower-body muscles such as the calves, hamstrings, back, and quadriceps are used in both traditional and Nordic walking. Nordic walking, interestingly, tends to stimulate these muscles more efficiently. The latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezii (traps), forearm flexors, pectoralis majors, deltoids, and triceps are all activated when Nordic walking poles are used. It also targets your abdominal muscles more effectively.
- Mental wellbeing
The benefits of exercising in a green environment are even greater because they reduce stress and anxiety. It should come as no surprise that nature is inherently refreshing and therapeutic for the mind. The outdoors aspect of Nordic walking is not the only benefit – it’s also a social activity; therefore Nordic walking can reduce stress, improve mood and foster friendships. This means that in both literal and metaphorical senses, you’re moving forward.
The brilliance of Nordic walking is that it doesn’t matter what your starting fitness level is; whether you’re a complete beginner, have never done any exercise before, or are already quite active. Therefore you can start to find the best places to go Nordic walking in the UK right now.