Nordic walking is taking the UK by storm but do we really know what it is? Gill Stewart from Nordic Walking UK explains all below.
What is nordic walking ?
Nordic walking was originally a summer training regime for cross country skiers – it is based on using specially designed walking poles in a manner that harnesses the power of the upper body in order to propel you forward as you walk. Now it’s a recognised way to turn a walk into whole body exercise and is popular worldwide because it can be done by anybody anywhere.
How does it differ from simply rambling or walking with poles?
The poles have special straps on which play an integral part in the technique which requires the pole to be planted on the ground in a backwards angle in order to propel the walker forward. Normal walking poles are designed to be used in a more upright manner where the aim is to take the weight of the lower body but not so much on propulsion or upper body engagement.
Who is nordic walking suitable for ?
Nordic walking is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. Classes range from gentle wellness walks for people with health or weight concerns to workout walks which are a great way to improve fitness, lose weight and tone the whole body. Instructors across the UK run groups and they keep their classes varied by using maps in order to explore the most inspirational routes which are the right intensity and terrain for the level of walkers involved.
What equipment do you need?
Simply a pair of nordic walking poles, flexible soled outdoor shoes or trainers and clothing suitable for the weather on the day. Most Nordic Walking Instructors will provide the poles but you can buy them from about £29 – avoid cheaper ones that can vibrate or shatter when used.
What are the health benefits of nordic walking?
Nordic walking strengthens the major muscles, takes the pressure of lower body joints and relieves back, neck and shoulder stiffness. It also provides the same aerobic benefits as running but feels easier because the poles aid the movement. This makes it a great way to embark on an exercise regime that will get results without over stressing your body.
How do you get started ?
Nordic walking can be done in any location, urban or rural but we always recommend that you learn the technique from a qualified NWUK Instructor. They will generally offer a taster session so you can make sure it is something that right for you first. Most Instructors also run local groups where you can go along for regular walks once you have learned. To find your local Instructor or to learn how to set up a group in your area visit www.nordicwalking.co.uk