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In the 21st century, walking has become the need of time, and most of us actively seek out for walking. Nowadays, when almost everything is available at our doorstep, you will have to find walking opportunities, and probably you walk less than you should.
Walking is necessary for us, and it is a valuable exercise. Easy, accessible, and simple, walking is something that anyone can do and must do. While you can always go for a pleasant stroll, but if you want to get significant benefits from walking, you will have to try more efforts and follow a more comprehensive walking program. So, if you plan to take your walking experience to the next level, then try Nordic walking.
In present times, Nordic walking has become a global outdoor activity that millions of people enjoy. It is a simple way to improve your walking routine. By implementing poles and adopting the standard method of skiers, you can convert your regular walk into an intensive, full-body workout. According to the experts, the Nordic walk is more demanding than the traditional walk and burns 40% more calories.
This brings us to the most obvious question ‘What is Nordic walk and how to do it’ and more. So, keep scrolling down to get the answers. This guide will make your Nordic Walking experience joy, pain-free, and useful.
What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking is an outdoor activity mainly practiced for relaxation. But remember that Nordic walking is more than putting your one foot ahead of the other. If you practice this activity, you will need specially designed poles for this activity.
These poles push you forward and keep all your muscles working. In this activity, you will not hold the sticks vertically as you do in hiking; instead, they are leaning backward, as you have them in cross-country skiing. Due to these specially designed poles, your movement will be faster, and you can achieve a pace of athletic.
Why Nordic Walking Rocks?
Firstly, Nordic walking is an activity that you can perform in all types of weather conditions. Moreover, the walk is not expensive, simple, and offers a beneficial cardiovascular and muscular workout. The workout is safe for both young and older people.
Now, if you are thinking, why only Nordic Walk; here is your answer. We completely agree that walking is a good workout, but while you are walking, there is no or less movement of your upper body. That’s not the case in the Nordic walk.
In Nordic walk, you use poles that rise the usage of the upper body, so your whole body muscles will be in working mode. Furthermore, there is no particular track for this type of walk. You can walk comfortably on paths and pavements; however, it is more effective when you head out to the countryside. The unique poles also assist you when you are walking on rough terrains. They offer perfect balance and decrease the stress from your knees and lower back. So, in this way, the Nordic walk is also useful for your bones.
Nordic walking might look like a regular walk, but there are differences. When you do a Nordic walk, strides are slightly, and you use the poles that offer additional thrust. It also helps attain the correct posture; this is because, when you are on a Nordic walk, your overall posture is tall, shoulders down and back. More importantly, there is a purpose for this walk. Lastly, you should hold the poles firmly but not too tightly; otherwise, you will end up with sore and painful hands.
Essential things that you will need for Nordic walk
Before we discuss the necessary equipment for the Nordic walk in detail, remember that the quality of all these things should be top-notch, or else you will end up with sore hands or feet.
Walking poles are available in many designs. But those which are light-weight, adjustable, have wrist straps along with metal tips and detachable rubber covers are recommended. When using them, you should feel that poles are an extension of your arms. On the other hand, the pole’s length is essential as well.
Finding the right length of poles, the rule is to measure your height in centimeters and multiply it by 0.68. After doing so, you can adjust the exact size of your poles from this result. Alternatively, ensure that you can bend your elbows up to 90-degrees. Another thing that you will find useful here is that you always purchase high-quality poles from a reputable brand that also manufactures spare parts.
Though, you can do this walk in almost all types of shoes. But shoes that are durable, supportive, soft, and cushioned will make your experience extremely comfortable. Shoes should be light in weight and offer reliable ankle support. If you are planning a walk-in rough trail, ensure that your walking shoes are waterproof and highly breathable.
Here, there are no limitations. It is suitable to wear almost anything while Nordic walking but keep in mind the weather elements and remember that your body temperature will rise as your walk progresses. Here we will advise you to dress in layers to take off the dresses as your body temperature increases.
Before Your First Walk
Before going out on your very first Nordic walk, try to spend a few minutes practicing and ensure that you feel comfortable when walking with poles. Start gradually and only pick up your strides when you think you can bear them. First, try to walk holding the poles and ensure that they don’t touch the ground. When you are entirely comfortable in swinging both your arms and legs simultaneously, you can ground the poles. The vital thing here is that the left pole should hit the ground with your right foot.
Moreover, when you don’t feel any issues walking with the poles, it’s time to process further in the field. Be cautious when taking your first few steps and never overextend yourself. Start with short strides and escalate your strides when you become familiar with this new workout and walking.
Similarly, start your walk from well-trodden trails and then steadily move on to uneven and rough trails such as wooded paths, coastal ways, and steeper inclines.
Lastly, if you are still confused or want more support and advice, we will advise you to get some lessons about the walk from any qualified Nordic walking trainer. You will find many Nordic walking clubs and instructors that provide guidelines for weekly to full Nordic walk.
Nordic walking as a workout- How much beneficial is it?
Like any other workout, Nordic walking will only be helpful if you do it frequently. So, consistency is crucial here. If you are planning to adopt it as a primary workout, try to go on the walk around 15-miles in a week so that you can achieve your health and fitness goals with this activity.
Ensure to warm-up before the walk and cool-down after you’re done. Don’t underestimate the use of water and try to drink as much as you can before the walk. It will prevent dehydration, especially in hot conditions.
According to many experts and physicians, Nordic walking is an ideal full-body exercise that you can do outside of your gym and in excellent outdoor conditions. This workout gives you the perfect opportunity to unplug from modern tools and technology and allows you to enjoy nature and its beauty. Lastly, the Nordic walk is not only an excellent workout for your whole body, but it’s also healthy for your mind and soul.
How to Determine Nordic Walking Pole Length
Pole length is essential, and the same is the adjustability of poles. Ensure that the bars are fully adjustable, especially when you are standing, and elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Another important thing here is the position of your hands. Whether your hands are resting or they are in any other position, again, ensure that it is around 90 degrees.
Although it is simple to figure out the right size, it is extremely crucial that you do so; it will help you to get the maximum benefit from your pole. When you grip the pole at an adequate height, it will prevent you from wrong movements, and also from falls and save your energy. Similarly, try to keep your forearms around 90 degrees when the pole’s tip is placed on the ground.
Below please find the pole length measuring guide:
Measure Guide: Pole’s Length
|Your Height||Pole length|
A simple method to determine the length of the Nordic Walking pole is from a person’s height. To calculate the right pole length, use this simple formula:
Your Height In centimetre x 0.68
Alternatively, you can also calculate the correct pole length by holding the pole from the grip and then place it in an upright position in front of your body. Keep your elbow next to your body. The elbow should create a 90-degree angle.
You can use this technique for all types of Nordic Walking poles, including the Activator poles.
How to Use Nordic Walking Sticks Properly
Now, after measuring the correct pole length, it’s time to learn how to use Nordic Walking sticks correctly. This simple process is mentioned in four easy steps.
Step 1 — Moderate Arm Swing
If you are a beginner or using the poles for the first time, the most basic thing to improve your Nordic Walking technique is to grab the poles mid-shaft.
Relax it by your side. Ensure that the weight of poles is even and balanced and gently swing your arms.
Then walk with your arms swinging gently. Try to use the opposite arm and leg as you walk.
Keep your thumbs over the poles; it will help to bring the arm swing.
Now, the most common question that users ask at this stage is, “How much arm swing is recommended?”
There is a simple answer to this question. Imagine that you are shaking someone’s hand while going forward. This type of arm swing is the best when you are walking with the poles.
Step 2 — Drag the Walking Poles behind you
Once you have mastered the arm swing, try to drag the poles behind you. Never put all of your body weight through the poles yet. Gradually begin with dragging the walking poles and get used to the arm swing, with the walking poles behind you.
Step 3 — Put Your Body Weight by using your arms
The third step is, try to put your body weight by using your arms while doing Nordic Pole walking. It will enable you to achieve the required push off and will enhance your walking speed and tempo.
The other important thing here is that engage the muscles of your oblique abdominal. At this point, you will feel pressure on your triceps. Remember that Nordic Pole walking keeps your upper body engage.
Step 4 — Increase Stride Length and Push Off
The fourth and final step in the correct Nordic Pole Walking technique is to enhance the length of your strides and your push off. But it will take some time to master this step and hours of practice.
Nordic Walking With Weighted Vest or Backpack
Many people suffer from arthritis and osteoporosis. If you are one of them, here is good news for you. Nordic Walking without poles will allow you to go much further. Furthermore, you can have higher bone-building steps behind you when loading. To do this, we recommend a Nordic Walk with a weighted vest or a backpack.
Nordic Walking with a Weighted Vest
You can use a weighted vest if you want to put more weight and pressure through your bones. The vital thing here is to keep your overall body posture in a straight position.
When talking about body posture, you can significantly improve your body posture with walking because when you will pushing down the poles, you will get equivalent force going up. Nordic Walking, here, helps lengthen the spine when you are on a walk.
The weighted vest combined with Nordic Walking with correct body posture is a perfect blend for osteoporosis.
Nordic Walking With a Backpack
Using a backpack when Nordic Walking helps you achieve the proper posture and carry your belongings comfortably when walking.
When wearing a backpack while walking, keep the straps across your shoulders as it encourages an open shoulder posture. Similarly, try to keep the weight below your shoulder blades. This will encourage a more balanced lift of the back.
So, this lengthy guide comes to an end. We hope that now you know everything about Nordic walking. And a final tip from us: try not to take your headphones with you. It will disconnect you from the rest of the world, and you can enjoy your walk with nature. Whether you like to go on a walk alone or with fellow Nordic walkers, try to connect with your body movements and find your happiness in the wilds.
Happy Nordic Walking!