The interest in Nordic Walking has undergone significant growth in the last few years. The Basque Country provides a perfect environment for Nordic Walking getaways with routes along beaches, nature reserves or even through the city.
HOW NORDIC WALKING CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
A properly executed Nordic walking technique implies that the arm muscles are engaged and applied when walking. It should be highlighted that this is not a matter of simply moving the arms to place the Nordic walking poles, but part of our weight must be supported by them.
This movement repeated time and time again, results in strengthening the upper-body: including arms, the chest area, shoulders and back. Clearly these are tonifying exercise, in no case will they cause you to gain muscle mass.
At the same time, having to bear part of the weight of the exercise on the upper extremities has an unexpected benefit: walking at high intensity can be a more efficient method to burn fat than running; everything depends on the control of our pulsations.
Nordic hiking is also an invaluable aid for those who suffer from foot, knee, hip or lower back pain. Making NW (with the use of the poles) the all-round perfect exercise for your health and fitness.
As well as those already mentioned, there is one group who especially benefit from Nordic walking: the elderly. Nordic Walking has shown to be one of the most effective methods of increasing aerobic capacity, coordination and muscle tone in older people.
If you are someone who wants to start a new sport that’s easily accessible to all or if you just enjoy a good walk through the woods and outdoors, Nordic walking is a great way to get more out of those hours of activity. You only need to learn the technique and grab two poles to begin.
NORDIC WALKING BENEFITS FOR THE BODY
- It firms the body.
- Improves overall strength.
- Increases controlled heart rate: the heart muscle is trained, pumping more times, while blood flows at the same time.
- Irrigation of all the body’s major organs, veins and brain – decongesting the entire circulatory and lymphatic system, while preventing the calcification of arteries.
- Controls Cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
- Activates the complete muscular bundle, even those muscles that we hardly exercise in our day to day life.
- Improves joint health from the initial position stretching the spine, through the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, phalanges, hips, knees and ankles.
- Tones upper arms, shoulders and back muscles.
- The movements help to feed the cartilage thus eliminating the metabolic remains that can impede its proper functioning. In turn this helps to avoid disc, hip or knee problems, which are currently some of the most common in our society.
- Improves lateral mobility of the spine.
- Helps to prevent the wear of intervertebral discs, due to a bad unilateral and static load.
- Exercising helps healthy people in the processes of building bones by carrying the nutrients and calcium in our diet through the blood. Avoiding loss of bone mass (osteoporosis).
- Promotes an upright posture,
- It helps the correct metabolization of fats.
- We consume 23% more oxygen than in any other sport.
- Increases aerobic effect by up to 25% compared to regular walking
- Burns between 22% and 46% more energy than in any other sport.
- We move 90% of the muscles of the body, balancing the load on the lifting muscles due to the use of the Nordic walking poles.
- It can be practiced 365 days a year with wind, sun, rain, snow; in the cold, heat, humidity or dryness so the body adapts to the stimulus and strengthens the immune system.
- Suitable for all ages.
THE IMPORTANCE OF USING NORDIC WALKING POLES
Of course, all these benefits are achieved thanks to the use of specifically designed poles and by learning the proper Nordic Walking technique, in which the NW poles are used as a resistance tool to engage the upper body as they make contact with the ground.
- Walking with Nordic poles can prevent damage to the lower extremities and reduce pressure on the knee joints.
- It provokes the mobility of all upper and lower extremities and relieves pain.
- Increases cardiac output and heart rate without increasing fatigue.
- Enables faster walking.
- Improves stability.
- Helps patients with arthritis or diabetes during walking in relation to foot pressure.
As a low impact walking exercise, Nordic Walking is something that can be practiced and enjoyed as a group activity by anyone who can normally walk. Its practice is also beneficial for injury rehabilitation, total body fitness and weight loss.
HOW NW CAN IMPROVE YOUR CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS
Nordic walking has been used in the treatment of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or even neuromuscular problems in order to help and control them in an effective way.
During the last years, NW has been prescribed by healthcare professionals as a highly effective rehabilitation therapy. As a low impact walking exercise, Nordic Walking is something that can be practiced and enjoyed as a group activity by anyone who can normally walk. It may adapt perfectly to any individual needs and NW training is also very beneficial for recovery, complete fitness and general health.
If you suffer from any kind of condition, please discuss with your doctor or physio how Nordic Walking might be suitable for you.
WHAT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SAYS ABOUT NORDIC WALKING
- NW provides increased stability, security and confidence.
- Develops co-ordination and integrates major muscle groups.
- Builds core stability and back strength.
- Prevents falling. Promotes hip flexor and foot dorsiflexion strength – thus aiding in fall prevention.
- Improves joint mobility and muscle flexibility.
- Produces a more intense workout effect but with less perceived exertion.
- Increases circulation throughout the body.
- Helps improve self-image and mental acuity.
- Boosts aerobic conditioning and is effective in weight loss.
PUT YOURSELF IN SAFE HANDS
The benefits derived from the regular practice of Nordic walking are subject to using a correct technique that avoids harmful gestures and forced or exaggerated postures. We, therefore, highly recommend Nordic walking courses provided by certified instructors.
Our tour guide Iñaki Belaustegigoitia is part of INWA Nordic Walking Association and will soon be starting basic Nordic Walking courses in the Basque Country.
If you are interested in joining us, please check out our Nordic walking travel programs and please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information!
There is so much to say about the benefits of Nordic Walking training, not just physically but mentally also. Be sure not miss our next post about the connection between Nordic walking training and mindfulness.