Nordic walking is a fitness activity mostly practiced in northern countries such as Finland, Austria, Germany or the United States, although nowadays its practice has spread throughout the world.
NW began when cross-country skiers were looking to find a way to stay in shape during the times when there was an absence of snow. So they started using their poles without skis and walking instead.
During the 80s and 90s, the name for this exercise “Nordic walking” was proposed for international use and the first walking poles were sold.
What exactly does Nordic walking technique consist of?
In a nutshell, Nordic hiking means to walk in a natural way while using a specially-designed pole that accompanies the instinctive swing of the arms, for added support. It is a gentle and integral technique that exercises 90% of the body, with all the movements and is also a way to optimize step dynamics, depending on the physical abilities/fitness of each person.
NW training helps to intensify the act of walking by allowing the upper body to push actively through the poles. This allows the walking effort to be shared between the lower and the upper body, while also involving the muscles in the rest of the body.
Nordic Walkfit is an efficient, dynamic and safe sport, that is suitable for all. It is one of the best forms of physical activity because it trains the body in a balanced way. You will experience the health benefits of Nordic Walking from the get go, not only physically but mentally too.
Nordic walking training is based on three main pillars:
- Walking technique
- Use of Poles
Nordic walking techniques. Which is the most appropriate for me?
There is at times certain confusion amongst those doing Nordic Walking for the first time, about the different techniques that currently exist. Often the question arises: Which technique do I start with?
Several different NW methodologies exist and various schools have their own techniques – Original, Methodology of the 10 steps , INWA, ALFA-247 or Fittrek.
The main factors to take into consideration, that will determine which is the best technique for you, are:
- It must respect the natural movement of the body and maintain the biomechanics of natural walking.
- It must be based on a normal walking pattern, in which the movement of the bod
y is identical to that made during regular and relaxed walking.
- It should incorporate the use of specific Nordic Walking poles in the natural way of walking, therefore allowing the activity to be carried out smoothly and naturally.
Five reasons to practice Nordic Walking
- One of the main benefits of Nordic walking is training a large number of muscle groups in the same one movement. Amongst the muscles that are used, are: the abdominals, arms, pectorals, and back, in addition to the legs.
- As it is a cardiovascular activity, it improves the oxygenation and the cardiovascular capacity of the individual. In addition to this, it burns a lot of calories.
- It is an activity that exerts little pressure on the body’s joints, that is: the ankles, knees, and hips, making it an excellent Cross training activity. It also helps strengthen the back and arms.
- It is an exercise in which you can develop various physical abilities that will improve your overall physical performance, such as coordination, strength, endurance, speed, and elasticity.
- It can be practiced by individuals of all ages and even pregnant women, as it is low impact and very safe.
INWA Nordic Walking training.
INWA (The International Nordic Walking Federation) was founded in Finland with the aim of developing Nordic walking’s popularity and sharing its benefits internationally, to create a global network of Nordic walking programs and instructors. Now, it is in fact present in more than 40 countries, including Spain. Alongside INWA, are also the medical and scientific communities offering research guidelines and their aditional findings.
INWA Instructors carry out their teaching activities based firmly on these three pillars, in order to instill a correct technique that allows both the enjoyment of the exercise as well as the acquisition of physical and mental benefits. They are accredited by the INWA and must meet the continuous education requirements within the criteria of excellence and quality of teaching implemented by INWA at the international level. In this way, they carry out recycling training courses within a 2 year period, to keep everyone up-to-date.
Nordic walking tours with Ulle Gorri Travel
Our host and bespoke tour guide, Iñaki Belaustegigoitia, took the Nordic Walking Instructor Course given by the INWA in Gorliz last month (in May) to become a Nordic Walking Instructor and part of the INWA Nordic Walking Association.
We offer guided hiking routes and programs that will allow you to discover our natural environment, culture and our local history, along with traditions that have made our Basque Country so unique. You can hike these with or without nordic walking poles and you will enjoy every moment of the nature on display, in this special place we call home.
Soon we will be starting basic Nordic walking courses and guided routes through the magnificent Sea of Meadows from Ulle Gorri Rustic house. The routes will be suitable for all people, of all ages and will be adapted perfectly to the skill, fitness level and experience of each individual.
Would you like to join us?