Nordic walking burns more kilojoules
Nordic walking utilises the upper body muscles and is one of the most efficient ways of exercising. The poles provide resistance, thus using more than 90% muscle mass when walking. You burn more kilojoules as a result. However, as the perceived exertion may be lower, you can find yourself maintaining the exercise for longer!
Nordic walking, in its modern form, originated in Finland in 1997 in response to Olympic Cross-country skiers looking to maintain their training during the summer months. The novel technique quickly developed into a mainstream fitness activity, which is widely used today.
Today it is one of the most popular leisure activities in Northern Europe and over 8 million people are estimated to have taken up Nordic Walking, using specially designed poles, as a means of regular exercise.
The benefits of Nordic walking:
- Utilises the upper body and core muscles
- Lower rate of perceived exertion
- Less stress on knees and joints
- Improves balance, posture and coordination
- Burns more calories
- Increases range of movement
- Improves cardiovascular system
- May benefit neurological conditions
- May help preserve bone density
- It’s a fun activity and you will want to do more!
Nordic walking poles are very different from a tramping or ski pole. They were developed by EXEL, a Finnish sport equipment manufacturer, with the assistance of researchers in sports medicine and other fitness professionals.
Generally made of carbon fibre, or a composite material (which makes them very light), the poles are selected according to your height or, in some cases, medical conditions.
They should be individually fitted as the correct pole size is paramount; the wrong size can cause stress and damage to joints and it really won’t make your Nordic walking experience very enjoyable.
The poles are fitted with straps and have a grip on the handle, which reduces the need to hold onto the pole too tightly. Poles come with removable rubber tips (used for walking on harder surfaces, like concrete) and metal tips (used on softer surfaces, like grass or sand).
The Nordic walking technique is best taught by a professional who is qualified to fit your poles and assess your particular medical and fitness requirements. Classes are usually kept to a small size ensuring that everyone gets individual assistance.
Book a course or look out for free trials in your area. Personal tuition is also available. Look out for INWA® (International Nordic Walking Federation) Certified Nordic Walking Instructors. These people are qualified health and fitness professionals and are licensed to teach Nordic walking.
An INWA National Coach is responsible for the high quality education of Nordic Walking Master Instructors, Instructors and Guides, and has undertaken training from INWA International Coaches.
Want to get started?
New Zealand contact: 0800 NORDIC (0800 667 342)