Nordic Walking began as a summer training exercise for serious "cross country" skiers and was quickly adopted by fitness walkers in Europe as a time-efficient, low-stress, total body workout. The sport is rapidly taking off in the U.S. as information about this exciting and highly effective form of exercise spreads.
How can you make walking a better overall workout without feeling like you are exerting any more energy? How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain many get from working at desks and computers? In Finland, over 300,000 people have taken up Nordic Walking to give them a good workout and loosen their neck and shoulders.
Nordic Walking began as a summer training exercise for serious "cross country" skiers. Fitness walkers in Europe adopted Nordic Walking as a time-efficient, low-stress, total body workout. Nordic Walking’s popularity is growing with walking clubs and certified instructors leading classes across the United States.
Through Nordic Walking you will burn up to 40% more calories, pump up your cardio by increasing oxygen consumption up to 25%, and reduce stress to your knees and lower joints. You’ll reduce heel strike by 26% and get a total body workout that strengthens your upper body and creates resistance to build better bone density.
Nordic Walking uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross country skiing, the poles are used by the arms to match each step the person takes.
Better but Easier Cardio Workout: Nordic Walking increases your heart rate without increasing your perceived rate of exertion. You get a better workout without feeling like you are working any harder. While you can get a similar heart rate effect by walking faster, there are many people who do not want to walk faster or cannot walk fast.
Upper Body Workout: Nordic Walking works the arms, shoulders and upper chest and back muscles through a full range of motion, stretching and lengthening those muscles which are often tight. The motion works to overcome the hunching forward that many people adopt while working at desks, computers, reading or watching TV. Many people exhibit stress by tightening their neck and shoulder muscles. Nordic Walking loosens up those knots.
Stability and Posture: On any surface, the poles provide more stability for walkers who have balance, knee, or leg problems. Proper use of the poles and arm motion encourages good posture. People who had given up walking for pleasure find that they can walk comfortably with the poles. For natural trails, the poles provide stability for walkers much like a hiking stick.
Fitness walking the old-fashioned way (without poles) promotes a short stride initiated by a short arm swings. Nordic Walking activates more muscle because of a longer stride. The pole swing is an enhancement of normal opposing arm swing when walking. Range of motion is enhanced and so is posture. The pole tips remain behind to push off. Most of the motion comes from a “long lever” swing from the shoulder. You should feel resistance when the rubber tips make contact with the surface (road or dirt) to propel the body forward with strength and speed!
Nordic Walking has become a major exercise activity since 1997. Today, approximately 500,000 people in Finland enjoy Nordic Walking regularly, and it is spreading in popularity throughout Scandinavia. Enthusiasts look ahead to bringing it to the 30 million fitness walkers in the US, and even more so to those who do not now exercise regularly
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