Nordic Walking: The Benefits of This Low Impact Exercise
It is time to get up, get outdoors, and get moving forward. How exciting would it be to finally be able to get rid of those stubborn final pounds that most fitness programs will simply fail to help you get rid of, being able to complete your very first ½ marathon, or even to relish being able to get fit right outdoors, away from things like other people’s sweat, electronics, and walls? What would you think if I told you that you can do all of this while also increasing the strength of your back as well as your bone density?
Enter Nordic walking. This is a complete method of training your whole body in a new and modern way. It is essentially a gym to go, and a new type of cardio training. Nordic walking can be the one thing that you have needed to get you to where you have always wanted to be.
This type of exercise is one form of physical activity that utilizes poles that are specially designed to engage the muscles of your upper body. It offers quite a few different benefits that you can get regardless of your beginning level of fitness. This is an activity that you can do in nearly any time or place, and the best part is that once you have purchased your poles, it is free. The key to improving both your fitness level and your health is right there in the palm of your hands. All you need to do is to get started and improve your health today. You can take your poles with you right in the trunk or back seat of your car, and then your gym is anywhere you are.
People who take part in Nordic walking combine physical strength with poles to move the weight of their own bodies forward across the ground. In this fashion, you get both a strength and a cardio workout. The combination of the resistance that is generated through the tips of the poles and motion that is rhythmic and continuous creates momentum that is powerful. When the mass of your body weight meets speed that is going in one direction (forward in this case), your reaction when it comes to the resistance offered by the tips of the poles will propel you forward.
You can even get more resistance if you learn to nail the tips’ sweet spots consistently. This is a practice that shows rhythmic automation to its best!
There are quite a few benefits that are associated with this type of exercise. These include things like body awareness, balance, stability, mobility, muscle endurance and strength, pain management, injury rehabilitation, bone density, postural development, heart health, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Many of its fans call the exercise a sort of meditation that is moving and claims that it actually produces endorphins that can be likened to those released in a runner’s high. Long-term benefits when it comes to weight loss and back health can also be achieved when practicing this exercise and are compelling reasons to do so. Also, there are athletic and fitness benefits that can be gained from a pace that is harder and faster.
It isn’t overly expensive to get started either. A good pair of Nordic walking poles will cost anywhere from $59 to $200. Once that has been spent, you just need to invest the time it will take to learn this exercise. Once you have done that, you will be free to practice this exercise anytime you see fit and with whatever intensity suits you and your needs the best. Overall, this is an investment in your future that will assist you with remaining active and fit all the way through your golden years.
When talking about Nordic walking, the intensity can vary from walking in a slow and calculated manner to walking at paces that are swift and heart pumping, and every single choice gets results. Anyone from athletes to grandparents can reap the benefits of this exercise, regardless of their age, speed, ability, or fitness level.
Fitness for the Entire Body
The activity of Nordic walking utilizes special poles that will connect your whole body with the force of gravity, and this creates resistance and muscle activity that is comprehensive. When used correctly, the tips on your poles will redistribute all of the physical effort from your lower extremities throughout your upper body and core.
This is the ideal cardiorespiratory exercise for people regardless of their level of fitness. The benefits of this activity are related directly to how much effort you expend. As your level of fitness improves, the benefits you reap will get progressively greater. It is the ideal exercise when it comes to enhancing both strength and cardiorespiratory stamina.
This activity will result in a greater amount of weight loss than simply walking traditionally. This is due to the fact that more of your muscles are being used for this exercise. This means that you will be burning even more calories. That being said, when you are just learning any new sport, your heart rate might be too high for you to burn any of the stored fat. Once you have mastered the necessary skills and adapted to what this activity demands, you will be able to establish a heart rate that will allow you to burn fat so that you can, quite literally, walk your behind off.
Improved Posture and Healthier Back
One of the top reasons that people choose to participate in Nordic walking is to improve the health of their spine. It doesn’t matter what your level of skill or your knowledge is, just holding on to the handles of your walking poles and touching the tips of them to the ground will activate critical muscles in your core and torso that are related to posture. Spine rotation is one of the more beneficial results of the resistance of the tips. This is what is described by physical therapists as one of the daily motions that are critical for a back that is healthy. Movements that are rotational work to create resistance that is gentle for the axis of your spine. It activates all of your core muscles. By using this element of rotation that most fitness programs don’t will reenergize your postural awareness. The thing is, if you have better posture, your coordination will be better, your back muscles will be stronger, and your endurance will be increased.
Reduced Joint Impact
Because the poles will distribute your effort throughout your body while producing stability that is instant, this exercise places far less strain on your back and knees. After a single trip downhill and uphill, you will be able to appreciate how well the poles assist you with remaining upright. You will never need to load your knees beyond an angle that is comfortable or break at your waist.
Bone Density that is Greater
People who are avid about Nordic walking report that their bones in every part of their body feel stronger.
The use of the Nordic poles works to activate all of the joints in your body. This includes your spine. Because of this, your body will just buzz with the release of endorphins. Many people who participate in this activity liken this effect to the high a runner feels. There are benefits that are related to the increased release of endorphins that can include things like greater endurance in the muscles, better management of pain, and a reduction of stress.
Both meditation and Nordic walking show the awareness of the participants to a variety of rhythms, including the coordination of a gait that is symmetrical, breathing, and the beat of the heart. People who participate in Nordic walking claim that they often lose track of the time, because they let the peaceful rush of momentum and rhythm occupy their minds the entire time they are walking this way. Other people might focus solely on one quality of their walk for many seconds at a time. Some examples include that they notice how their feet are feeling as each part of them, from the toes to the heels, come into contact with the ground, or that they concentrate on the subtle coordination or how the lower and upper portions of the body are rotating.
Athletic and Fitness Benefits
Using the poles when Nordic walking requires movements that are coordinated for stability and balance, endurance and strength, a variety of cardiovascular functions, visual acuity, and agility. Some of the additional benefits include things like the prevention of injuries, nervous system reactions that are advanced in order to move with precision quickly, and the ability to learn and be able to accomplish other sports related skills in a smaller time frame. When it comes to health benefits, the best one is being able to have an active, long life. Picking up this activity now will be akin to an investment into your kinetic future to enable you to remain active well into your golden years.
Stamina – Cardio-Respiratory
Anaerobic and aerobic conditioning are two things that are at the heart of a workout when Nordic walking. The aerobic part of it uses the fat stores, glycogen, and oxygen that are readily available in order to sustain pace and movement, which, most of the time, is done at a heart rate that is consistent and can be performed for periods of time that are longer. This type of conditioning will be the veritable backbone of the training program you are using. This is because it is inherent in this type of experience, but also because it prepares your body for an anaerobic condition that will be more intense later on.
The anaerobic activity needs a source of energy that is quicker, so as opposed to using your stores of fat, the typical source of fuel will be what is already stored right in your muscles along with whatever you had for breakfast. It will take your heart rate to new levels of intensity that will often be difficult for you to sustain for longer than just a few minutes. However, because this is an exercise related to distance, it is considered to be more of an endurance activity. In fact, it works many of the same muscles that are targeted in things like cross-country skiing and running. It is the perfect activity when it comes to your cardiorespiratory fitness due to the fact that it can be done with any level of intensity. Additionally, those who want to burn off their fat will not have any trouble. People who want to compete at higher levels will have options when it comes to intense training. Still other people might wish to make their heart healthier or even just participate in a sport and they will also be able to find the ideal pace for their fitness related goals.
Conditioning that is anaerobic takes your training that is aerobic to the next level. Anaerobic conditioning can be thought of as cardio training that is advanced. Cardiorespiratory activity that is advanced will increase both your power and your strength. The more intense your output of cardio is, the less available oxygen is when it comes to metabolizing the fat that is used to sustain movement that is energetic. Your body will essentially tap into other types of stores of fast energy for that muscle function. This could be things like what you ate yesterday or for breakfast that has been stored as glycogen that is in your muscles. However, your muscles won’t be able to sustain this type of intense advanced cardio training for periods of time that are long. Because of this, you should use training in intervals in order to progressively build up your cardio.
Some of the benefits of advanced cardio training or anaerobic conditioning include things like:
- Performance in sports that is improved
- Faster speed
- Faster time of recovery
- Dynamic balance that is better
- Nerve response that is enhanced
- Fitness levels that are increased
- Cardiorespiratory endurance that is greater
- A heart that is healthier
This can be defined as the ability of your muscles to sustain activity or movement for periods of time that can be prolonged. With a bit of practice, people who become proficient at Nordic walking will acquire a gait that is more athletic and that will combine a faster speed and pace with physical reactions that are simultaneous. When you get to this level of your training, even long-distance events can be both attainable and appealing. Your muscular endurance will allow for you to settle into a pace that is both productive and comfortable.
In short, Nordic walking is the ideal exercise for anyone who wants to become more active, feel better, and live healthier.
- YouTube, Nordic Walking – How to with Leki Poles
- Inside Out Physiotherapy & Wellness Group, Health Benefits of Nordic Pole Walking
- A Place for Mom, Benefits of Nordic walking Poles