Nordic walking: benefits, techniques, rules and mistakes

Скандинавская ходьба

In our article “Nordic walking” you will learn about an accessible form of outdoor physical activity. We will look at the benefits and techniques of walking.

Nordic walking is the easiest and most accessible form of outdoor physical activity. It combines simple walking movements and the use of special canes, or Nordic sticks.

The motto of Nordic walking is “Anywhere, any time of year and any age”. Walk in the city, park or outdoors, on asphalt, dirt or sand at the beach. Exercise in summer and winter, at any time of day, when you like it best!

Benefits of Nordic walking

  • Muscle and joint strengthening: Using Nordic sticks while walking helps to engage a wider range of muscles, including the shoulders, arms and upper body. This strengthens muscles and joints, reduces strain on your legs and helps soothe joint pain. Regular walking engages 40% of the body’s muscles, bicycling engages 50%, and proper Nordic walking technique engages up to 90%.
  • Cardiovascular Improvement: Nordic walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that helps improve heart and lung function. Traveling outdoors and using sticks increases the intensity of your workout and raises your heart rate, which helps burn calories and improve your overall physical endurance. Running burns 300 kilocalories in 1 hour, while Nordic walking burns 700 kilocalories.
Benefits of Nordic walking
Benefits of Nordic walking
  • Reduced joint strain: Nordic walking differs from running in that it puts less strain on the joints. The use of sticks helps to shift some of the load to the arms, reducing pressure on the knees, hips and spine. Therefore, for people who suffer from joint pain or have limitations in physical activity, Nordic walking can be a great alternative.
  • Nordic walking promotes healthy weight loss by speeding up metabolic processes and effectively burning fat deposits.
  • Nordic walking trains the sense of balance and develops coordination, which is especially useful for people with Parkinson’s disease.
  • The rhythmic relaxation and contraction of muscles during Nordic walking improves posture, aligns the spinal column and relieves pain in the spine.
  • The advantage of Nordic walking is the ability to exercise outdoors. This allows you to enjoy the fresh air, the surrounding nature and get an extra dose of vitamin D from the sun’s rays. Studies show that exercising outdoors improves mood and overall health.
  • Nordic walking improves bowel function. Already after 10 weeks of exercise you will feel significant changes: gas formation will decrease, constipation will pass.
  • Nordic walking helps to avoid problems with falling asleep, and sleep becomes stronger.
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Nordic walking technique

For Nordic walking you will need special poles, comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for outdoor walking. To determine the optimal length of poles, use the following formula: Your height multiplied by 0.68, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5. Regular monolithic poles may not meet the recommended lengths, so it’s best to choose telescopic models that can be easily adjusted to your height.

Formula for calculating stick length in Nordic walking
Formula for calculating stick length in Nordic walking

Nordic walking techniques are relatively simple and accessible to most people. Here are the basic steps to consider:

  1. When walking with poles, it is important that each arm is at an angle of no more than 45 degrees and crosses over the opposite leg. This creates balance and helps you enjoy all the benefits of using poles.
  2. To achieve optimal Nordic walking technique, attention should be paid to the rhythmic movement of the arms and legs. When walking with poles, your arms should move in time with your legs. When you step with your right foot, your left hand should move forward, and when you step with your left foot, your right hand should move forward. This helps to create balance and use the poles effectively.

    Nordic walking technique
    Nordic walking technique
  3. When walking with sticks, attention should be paid to the fit of the foot. The foot should roll smoothly from heel to toe. But you should not place your feet on the entire surface of the foot, as this will lead to rapid muscle fatigue. It is also important to move the center of gravity forward to create optimal support and balance.
  4. The step in Nordic walking should be longer than in regular walking, and the movements should be smooth, without sudden jerks. The legs are slightly bent at the knees and the arms move like a pendulum. When the hand with the stick is pulled back, the palm should be unclenched so that the stick is fixed solely by the glove.
  5. When Nordic walking, it is important to control your breathing. It is recommended to breathe rhythmically and deeply, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This helps to improve cardiovascular function and overall endurance.
  6. As with any physical activity, it is recommended to start at a low intensity and gradually increase the time and speed of walking. This will help avoid injury and help you get used to a new type of exercise.

Nordic walking: basic rules and mistakes

Overall, Nordic walking is an effective and affordable form of physical activity for health. Its proper technique and regular training can help improve cardiovascular function, strengthen muscles, reduce stress on joints and maintain overall fitness. Regardless of your fitness level, Nordic walking can be a great way to improve your health and enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle.

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Alexander/ author of the article

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