An activity that’s simple, affordable and highly effective? It almost sounds too good to be true. But that’s the reality with Nordic walking. If you’re looking to improve your fitness and even your mental health, you’d be wise to pick up some poles and start striding.
We’d hazard a guess that you’ve already got a few preconceptions about Nordic walking. If you do, we’re sorry to tell you this, but you’ve probably got the wrong end of the stick.
First up: the ‘it’s just for old people’ thing. OK, there’s truth in the fact that a lot of older people are Nordic walkers and it’s certainly a great activity for those who have troublesome joints, but the benefits of it certainly aren’t limited to the over 70s…
The Benefits of Nordic Walking
Another common misconception is that Nordic walking is just walking with poles but there’s actually far more to it than that. Normal walking only engages 50% of your muscles after all, whereas the Nordic style brings up to 90% into the equation. You’re also burning around 20% more calories when you Nordic walk, so it’s a great exercise for anyone looking to lose weight.
“Nordic walking is actually a powerful exercise regime that is like being on a cross trainer in the gym,” says Gill Stewart who’s the director of Nordic Walking UK. “It’s a whole body workout and it’s very cardiovascular – it was, after all, derived from the winter training regime of super fit cross country skiers.”
Don’t forget that there’s the mental wellbeing side of things as well. Any exercise is good for mental health and being outdoors in nature adds another level of mood boosting benefits, but Nordic walking can actually enhance those benefits even further. “The “rhythmical action of Nordic walking can add another level of mood boosting benefits,” explains Gill, “especially when you learn to coordinate breathing exercises with steps, creating a relaxing workout with plenty of fresh air.”