Have you ever tried cross-country skiing in your own neighborhood? It may sound weird, but there is a type of exercise called “Nordic walking” that involves the use of ski poles and can help you burn more calories than your usual walk. This type of exercise takes walking for weight loss to a whole new level. Nordic walking can be practiced on sidewalks, grassy areas and wooded trails. It promotes stability, improves coordination, works multiple muscles and promotes heart health. This full-body workout can become your new go-to activity, and it’ll get you outside more often.
What is Nordic walking?
Originally, Nordic walking was practiced during the training sessions of cross-country skiers. It is popular in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe and is attracting attention as an effective workout. To practice Nordic walking, you walk with ski poles, moving the opposite arm with the opposite leg as you go. Poles make walking a bit more difficult as you have to use arm and core strength to hold them in front of you as you move.
Why practice Nordic walking?
The intensity level is higher than normal walking, which works more muscles and burns more calories. It is also a form of cardiovascular exercise, which is why it is so popular with older people in Switzerland and other Scandinavian regions.
Benefits of Nordic Walking
The main benefits of Nordic walking are that it works more muscles than just walking, while working the trunk and burning more calories. Here is a summary of the many benefits of Nordic walking:
1. Burns more calories
Nordic walking is said to increase calorie burn by 10% to 20%, even if your body doesn’t feel this increase in intensity. A 2019 study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging found that Nordic walking significantly reduced BMI, android fat, and leg fat compared to regular walking. The researchers concluded that Nordic walking can serve as the main tool to counteract obesity and overweight status in middle-aged adults.
2. Work your upper body
Who knew you could exercise your arms, shoulders, chest, and back muscles while walking? Walking with poles works many more muscles in the body, especially the upper body, which is not very stressed when walking without poles. A randomized trial found that a 12-week Nordic walking training program improved shoulder mobility and reduced upper body muscle tenderness. In addition, Nordic walking does not strain the upper body like walking with weights does. Not only are you working these muscles, but you can also relax the shoulders, maintain good posture, and get into a rhythm.
3. Increase stability
Nordic walking is popular with older people because it provides increased stability. Using poles provides better posture and balance, which can be especially helpful for people with knee, leg or back problems. A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that in adults aged 60 to 92, Nordic walking may have improved dynamic balance, functional balance, lower body flexibility, and aerobic capacity. The researchers concluded that this type of aerobic exercise is able to improve muscle strength, balance ability and quality of life in the elderly population. Another study evaluated the effectiveness of a six-week Nordic walking workout in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The results showed that this form of exercise improved functional performance, quality of walking and quality of life.
4. Improves Heart Health
A systematic review published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which analyzed 1,800 patients, found that Nordic walking has beneficial effects on resting heart rate and blood pressure compared to walking. fast. In addition, the patients experienced improvements in oxygen consumption and other measures of quality of life, according to the researchers.
5. An outdoor activity
One of the benefits of Nordic walking is that it allows you to get out and explore different terrains. You can walk around your neighborhood, on hiking trails, on ski mountains in the off season, and anywhere there is ground to walk on. A systemic study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness indicates that engaging in physical activity outdoors has social, psychological, and physiological benefits. Researchers have found that these benefits show up in young and old people by helping to prevent several health problems, including vitamin D deficiency, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.
There are several types of poles for Nordic walking. Some Nordic walking poles have gloves attached to their end, which forces you to use your palms to control the poles rather than your fingers. There are also poles with straps and handles, but without gloves. Nordic poles come in different materials and tips. Aluminum and carbon fiber poles are popular because they are lighter and absorb shock better.
Some poles have pointed tips that are better suited for unpaved trails, rubber tips that are better suited for paved trails or sidewalks, and “baskets” that are added to the tips for walking in snow. There are even collapsible sticks that can fit in a suitcase when traveling. What a great way to explore new trails while training even better.
How to (techniques)
It may take a few tries to get used to walking with poles and to find your favorite technique. Here are two types of techniques to try:
The double stick: This technique consists of placing the two sticks in front of you symmetrically, then pulling yourself forward while walking. You take a few steps forward to rejoin your poles, then place them in front of you again.
Single Pole: This is how most people use their poles when cross-country skiing. You use only one stick at a time, moving it up as you step with the foot on the opposite side. The pole and the opposite foot rise at the same time, and as you get used to the rhythm, you increase your speed and intensity. Once you’ve established your technique, you can play with the rhythm and try out different pitches. You can make this a high-intensity workout by pushing hard for two or three minutes, then slowing down to recover.
Risks and side effects
If you are new to Nordic walking, start slow and build momentum over time. Research the type of poles best suited to the terrain you want. Once you get used to the rhythm, you can speed up your walking and arm movements. If you feel short of breath or dizzy while walking, cool down and see your doctor if it continues.
Nordic walking is practiced with poles, just like cross-country skiing. It can be practiced on any terrain and is a popular form. of exercise in Scandinavian areas. Compared to normal or brisk walking, using poles helps burn calories better, strengthen your upper body, improve heart health and overall quality of life. Nordic walking is especially popular with older people as it improves stability, balance and overall strength.
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