Born in Finland and spread throughout Germany, Nordic walking is the latest variation of walking your way toward better health. A hybrid of jogging and hiking, Nordic walking involves a quirky combination of running shoes and hiking poles.
The Origin of Nordic Walking
Nordic walking came from Scandinavia after cross-country skiing inspired Marko Kantaneva, a cross-country skiing pro, came up with a new way to burn off the winter pounds.
Despite having been developed in Finland, it’s the Germans who’ve taken to Nordic walking, with over 3 million of them practicing the exercise on a regular basis. Nordic walking has gained such huge popularity because it consists of a gentle workout ideal for people of all fitness levels (okay, someone with more energy to burn, might want something more intense).
Engaging the body through a brisk pace with the added movement (and support) of the walking sticks, Nordic Walking falls somewhere between jogging and easy-level hiking in terms of physical intensity.
How it Works
Nordic walking is a full-body form of walking that morphs into a very beneficial form of exercise for those transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle. While the walking trend that’s taken over a good chunk of western Europe is definitely popular, those who are already very fit might find little to no use for it- but then again, you never see a track-and-field runner out zumba dancing.
Those who can benefit from Nordic Walking are people not used to doing much in terms of physical activity and the elderly. Of course switching up the terrain can add different levels of challenge.
Nordic walking basically works by engaging more of the body than regular walking, thus optimizing an otherwise very mild exercise form. The poles are not only used to propel the walker forward, they also come in different weights, adding resistance to the exercise as well as stability and support.
Despite the fact that it looks very easy and not to mention fun , Nordic walking actually burns double the amount of calories as your regular stroll- simply by adapting your walk to a pole!
The only “specialized” equipment needed here are the walking poles. While poles specifically designed for Nordic walking are now on the market, you can use those old hiking sticks in your garage with just as much success.
Nordic walking poles can cost anywhere from $50 to over $200.
Other than helping you burn double the calories with far less effort, Nordic walking is easy on your joints- one of the main reasons people suffering from joint pain refuse to do physical activity in the first place.
Is Nordic Walking for You?
If you really want to incorporate a fitness routine into your life and are intimidated to go to the gym, short on time, or unable to perform intensive exercises for whatever reason, Nordic Walking is most definitely for you. This form of exercise is extremely efficient, very minimal in terms of equipment and even effort, and most importantly, effective.