By John Ensor •
Published: 12 Dec 2023 • 11:42
Nordic walking on the beach.
Credit: Jacek Chabraszewski/Shutterstock.com
Have you ever considered transforming your daily walk into a full-body workout?
Nordic walking, a Finnish invention from the 1930s, has evolved into a popular fitness trend across Spain, offering a more effective alternative to traditional walking for weight loss and overall health, writes El Español.
Originally developed as off-season training for cross-country skiers, this exercise involves walking with poles similar to those used in skiing.
Nearly a century later, it’s not just confined to Finland but has captivated a global audience, appealing to a wide range of age groups and fitness levels due to its numerous health benefits.
Practicing Nordic walking engages the body’s upper muscles, thanks to the use of walking poles. This technique results in a 40 per cent increase in energy expenditure compared to regular walking.
Its low impact on joints, combined with its adaptability for all ages and fitness levels, makes it a universally accessible form of exercise.
British health authorities have recognized Nordic walking as a beneficial activity for strengthening bones and muscles and improving balance.
Scientific studies support these claims, noting its effectiveness in preventing chronic diseases and aiding in weight loss.
However, mastering the proper technique with the guidance of a qualified instructor is crucial to reap its full benefits.
The essentials for Nordic walking include two poles, sturdy walking shoes, and sports attire made of light, breathable materials for temperature regulation.
Beginners should focus on maintaining a steady walking pace without lengthening their stride, to protect their joints. As you gain speed, coordinate your arm movements to complement your stride.
Poles for Nordic walking should be height-adjustable and tailored to individual walking styles. Carbon poles are recommended for their lightness and ease of use.
Depending on whether you walk in nature or urban settings, the poles’ tips should be adapted accordingly – pointed for trails and cushioned with rubber stoppers for tarmac or pavement.
Whether you’re walking in the city or the countryside, hydration is key. In urban environments, it’s advisable to keep the volume of any accompanying music low to stay aware of your surroundings.
Ultimately, the beauty of Nordic walking lies in its simplicity and the minimal investment it requires, making it an ideal exercise for people of various backgrounds and fitness levels.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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