nordic walking is said to be practiced by at least several million people today. How is it that this type of workout for skiers has made such a staggering career, becoming a favorite form of physical activity for people of all genders, ages and activities?
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What exactly is nordic walking?
Now classified as a fitness activity, Nordic walking was originally invented as a special year-round workout for cross-country skiers in Finland in the 1920s. When specialist poles and instructions for this sport appeared on the market in the 1990s, it began to spread on an ever wider scale, and at the beginning of this century also reached Poland.
The nordic walking has gained fame and widespread recognition thanks to several basic advantages. First, it is a sport that can be practiced by virtually anyone, regardless of their physical condition, gender, age. Not only that, but it is even recommended to the elderly, overweight and even those with problems with joint mobility.
Secondly, it can be practiced anywhere, as long as it is outdoors, which in itself is beneficial to health. Finally, this form of physical activity does not require any special financial outlays – all you need is poles and comfortable shoes to spend your time in a healthy and pleasant way, usually in a nice company.
Nordic walking – effects on health and well-being
The list of benefits of systematic walking with poles is long. As with any outdoor movement, the nordic walking increases oxygen consumption, thus improving the functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Technically correct walking involves almost all muscle groups, legs, upper and lower limbs, trunk, arms and shoulders, while the load on the spine and the muscles and joints of the lower limbs is significantly lower than, for example, when running.
Walking nordic walking improves coordination and balance, contributes to the maintenance of good posture, and relieves muscle tension in the neck and shoulder area. The pace and length of the walk naturally depends on individual abilities, but anyone who starts the adventure with the poles will quickly realise that regardless of the number of calories burnt, walking itself is a real pleasure.
Nordic walking – walking technique
It is best to start learning how to walk properly in the presence of an instructor or at least someone who has mastered this art well. Unlike many other types of training, here you only need a short lesson to learn how to start a step, how to hold the poles, how to work your arms and legs. Alternatively, you can use the instructional videos available online.
If you are on your own, you need to remember some basic principles that the nordic walking technique requires:
- your posture should be upright, slightly bent, shoulders relaxed
- poles held close to the body, inserted in the middle of the step, between the front and the back leg
- hand clenched with stick extended to the front, loosened when brought to the back
arms and legs work alternately and the movements are harmonious and energetic
How to choose poles for the nordic walking?
There is quite a lot of equipment on the market, but it is worth paying attention that we are not sold trekking poles, which are quite often confused with those for Nordic walking. Sticks for nordic walking have, above all, gloves, not straps, and a smooth handle instead of a thick, profiled “mushroom”.
It is important to choose the right height of the pole, according to your height. It should be gripped by the handle and placed vertically – the angle of deflection at the elbow should be 90 degrees. You can also use the following conversion factor – height multiplied by 0.68 gives the correct height of the pole.
Nordic walking – weight loss. Is it possible to lose weight with ski poles?
There is no doubt that any type of physical activity helps lose weight. However, we often forget that as important as body weight is a good, proportional figure. And nordic walking, activating almost all parts of the muscles, like almost no other sports discipline shapes the figure. In addition, of course, it allows you to burn fat and calories, definitely more than normal walking.
Systematic, fast walks with sticks, combined, which is very important, with a proper diet, will undoubtedly bring the expected results. If someone hasn’t been physically active so far, but starts to follow a diet and go walking with sticks every day, they can lose a few kilograms relatively fast. However, you have to remember not to rest on your laurels after the first success.
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