Nordic walking is catching on as a good form of exercise because it’s a full body routine. It works out all parts of the body and is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness. The health benefits are the same as any other form of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This means that it can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.
Originally developed as a summer training tool for cross country skiers, Nordic walking uses two specially designed poles to allow you to use the upper body in a manner whereby it propels the whole body forward. Unlike normal walking where the top half of your body is not generally worked as hard as the legs, Nordic walking provides a whole body work out. Nordic walking can be described simply as a method to make walking a whole body workout.
Nordic walking is suitable for anyone and the level of intensity of the workout is up to you. Do you want a gentle walk or a hard workout? If you are just starting then take it gently, even children can do it. As a method to lose weight and tone the whole body Nordic walking is excellent, whilst improving fitness at the same time.
All you need are two Nordic walking poles, walking shoes and suitable clothing. The poles can be bought for around thirty pounds for a good quality pair. They are not the same as normal hiking poles because they are planted into the ground at an angle and use straps. This takes the pressure off the knees and ankles when the poles are properly used. This means less chance of lower limb injuries. Nordic walking is certainly no harder on the joints than normal walking. Because of this it is suitable for those who are overweight or with joint conditions.
To gain the full benefits of Nordic walking you must get the basic technique correct. Swing your arms as if you are marching, you must keep your arms straight. However to avoid injury it is recommended that you are taught the basic technique by a qualified instructor. You can do Nordic walking anywhere after learning the basic technique. Towns or the countryside are fine. Many instructors run groups which can help you to get a taster session. They may also be able to lend you poles. And if it is for you then you’ve got a group to exercise with regularly.
In summary, Nordic walking provides health benefits and can give your full-body a work out that's easy on the joints and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.