Nordic walking has become a huge trend in recent years. That’s because what at first glance appears to be simply walking with poles is a sporting activity that improves general fitness, promotes weight loss and can be done by almost anyone regardless of age. We therefore decided to pick up the poles to get an up-close look at Nordic walking.
Walking from the north
Called severská chůze in Czech, this type of walking is known as Nordic because it originated in Finland in the 1980s. The original goal was to create an off-season training regimen for X-country skiers. Nordic walking is a little bit like X-country skiing but without the skis. You have poles in your hand but walk with a normal gait. The phenomenon gradually spread across Scandinavia and then the entire world. Even here in the CR there has been a recent craze.
Take all of the advantages of walking and then add a good dose of efficiency and you have
Nordic walking. Another reason why the sport is so popular is accessibility – people can walk any time of year, at any age, whenever they get the urge... in mountains or forests or city parks. It looks very simple, but that does not mean it is not a demanding sport. Just like regular walking, it requires the proper technique as well as endurance for longer distances. But you can learn all that.
How is Nordic walking beneficial?
The key is the special poles you hold in your hands. Thanks to the arm movement the poles force you to perform, you burn up to 40% more calories than when walking regularly – i.e., roughly 400 kcal an hour (the exact figure differs depending on the individual and heart rate). That’s because during Nordic walking, you also use the upper half of your body and thus over 90% of all muscles in the body (of which there are around 600). It should be noted that this requires little more effort than regular walking. In addition to forcing arm movement, the poles also help dampen impact and improve posture, so you walk more comfortably.
The sport will improve your general fitness, help you lose weight in a pleasant way and strengthen your psyche. This type of exercise even helps relieve stress and is a good way to meet new people. So far, nothing but benefits and no drawbacks.
Who is Nordic walking good for?
The most interesting thing about Nordic walking is that it is good for practically every age category from children to seniors, both men and women. It is recommended for athletes, active people, as well as less active people. And last but not least, Nordic walking is often recommended for people recuperating from certain types of injuries to help them get back into shape without risking further injury or relapse.
We have the poles, what else do we need?
In addition to the special poles designed for Nordic walking, you also shouldn’t take a step without the proper footwear. You can’t go wrong if you opt for running shoes, but if you are heading to the mountains or places with uneven or rocky terrain, special hiking boots will come in handy. Don’t forget to choose the right shoes for the season – going off into the snow in sneakers isn’t the best idea. Also, choose suitable functional clothing that enables you to move comfortably and sweat. In the wintertime you should have a hat or headband and gloves. And if you’re going for a longer trip, pack a drink or snack.
Don’t forget to rest
Nordic walking can help you get away from the daily grind and relax, provided you don’t go rushing up mountains. Even so, you should remember to take time to rest and recuperate so you have plenty of energy for the next day. Let your entire body rest, but pay special attention to your feet. After all, they are always carrying you. Here’s a little tip: when resting (or even on the couch) wear our Foot Alignment Socks for at least 30 minutes a day and your feet will be rested, relaxed and ready for many miles of Nordic walking in the hills.