Nordic Pole Walking: Walk Outside the Box
The low-impact, often low-intensity exercise of walking has long proved to be beneficial for those who wish to lose weight with less wear and tear on their joints. Walking allows for socializing and often serves as a great alternative to driving. Lucky for us, in recent years a new and even more beneficial form of walking has been popularized.
Nordic Pole Walking, or SkiWalking, began in Finland in the late 20th Century as a way for cross-country skiers to train in the summertime. Later, in 1997, the Finnish sports equipment manufacturer, Exel Oyj, along with athletes and other sports medicine researchers transformed Nordic Pole Walking into a full-fledged fitness sport. This new form of walking involves, you guessed it, the addition of poles to turn walking into a cardiovascular workout similar to hiking or an Elliptical machine where oxygen consumption and heart rate is increased. As simple as it sounds, the use of Nordic poles actually makes quite a bit of difference to the walker. Poles make walking a full-body workout, adding arms, abs and shoulders to the equation, allowing you to burn up to 450 calories per hour. Nordic Walking uses 90% of the bodys’ muscles, rather than 70% used in normal walking.
With this added efficiency, you may think there’s a catch—added efficiency must equal added effort. In truth, the effort is quite the same. Though more energy is expended through the exercise because of its incorporation of the entire body, the poles actually allow for an increase in the hiker’s stability, allowing you to work out for a longer period of time and with better balance and better ability to climb hills. While standard walking at an incline often contributes to slouching, walking with poles can significantly improve posture and back strength in the long run, while also triggering the glute (or butt) muscles for a stronger workout. Using poles at the correct length for your height will add a bounce to your step, lengthen to your stride, and naturally bring your hips forward to secure core and hip flexor muscles.
For more info on Nordic walking and ways to find the right poles for you, visit these websites. Have a great workout!