What is Nordic Walking & What are the Benefits?
Updated: Sep 11, 2022
Some might think Nordic Walking is just walking with poles, but they’d be wrong! Starting as a way for cross-country skiers in Finland to train in the off-season, it soon took off as a form of physical activity suitable for all. In this blog, our trained Nordic Walking instructors talk about the technique and its benefits.
What is Nordic Walking? Nordic Walking is a technique that involves the use of specially designed poles (not walking poles) that when used properly activate the muscles of the upper and lower body whilst walking. Nordic Walking, when practiced correctly, is an effective full body workout.
Nordic Walking is a safe and dynamic exercise that is great for balance, stamina, and coordination. All of these qualities mean it is accessible and suitable for everyone, especially as you don’t need to wear lycra…
Read on to find out how your body can benefit from Nordic Walking and find out our favourite walking locations.
What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic Walking is a walking technique that was originally used for cross country skiers to train in the off-season. Originating in Finland, the special walking technique uses poles to propel your body forward, and allow a full range of motion.
The poles used in Nordic Walking almost become an extension of your own arm, encouraging you to apply force to your walking poles on each side which helps to engage the core and upper half of your body.
This style of walking can be practised on almost any terrain, including grassy hills, concrete pavement, and even along the beach!
Do You Need Special Poles for Nordic Walking?
Yes, you do need special poles when Nordic Walking. The poles, similar to ski poles, are strong yet light, to allow you to use them to engage your upper body easily. The poles used in Nordic Walking come with a wrist strap (sometimes called a glove) with a unique release system that allows you to grip the poles tightly without the risk of injury. Nordic Walking poles can be made from a range of materials including carbon fibre, aluminium, and other materials.
Where is the Best Place for Nordic Walking?
If you’re learning to Nordic walk, starting on some flat, open land is best so you can get to grips with the technique. Local parks are great places to get started and there are British Nordic Walking instructors up and down the UK who can offer the technique and often group social walks on this type of terrain as well.
Once you’ve got the technique, you can really start to explore different terrain. With your poles to propel you forwards and support your joints, you’ll soon find yourself powering up and down hills, joining the local Park Run, or enjoying a relaxed walk taking time to appreciate your surroundings.
How Does Nordic Walking Benefit Your Body?
Nordic Walking is a fantastic form of exercise, but it also comes with a number of benefits that put it over normal walking or hiking! We outline them below:
The poles help to engage your upper body, which means all of your muscles are activated when practising the exercise, rather than just your legs. The core muscles are engaged throughout the whole walk, which helps to tone and strengthen your muscles.
When your core muscles are strong, your posture naturally improves. Good posture can help to decrease the everyday aches and pains that most of us experience when sitting for long periods of time, working from home, or slouching.
Increased Blood Circulation
Heart health also gets a boost when you practice this exercise regularly as the increased muscle activity leads to increased metabolism - and in turn better blood circulation. Blood circulation is key to good health as it ensures all your organs, especially your heart, has enough blood to function efficiently. The results of good circulation include a better complexion, less fatigue, and a sharper brain.
Benefits Mental Wellbeing
Nordic walking in the beautiful outdoors is a great way to enhance our mental health and mood. Not only is exercise scientifically proven to reduce stress and kick up your endorphin levels, but the social element of Nordic Walking allows us to make new friends and build confidence!
An Exercise for Everyone
The intensity of our Nordic Walking sessions can easily be adapted for any individual, making the workout suitable for everyone, irrespective of age, fitness level, or physical condition. The workout can also be changed slightly to meet your personal fitness goals, which our instructors keep in mind throughout the session.
Nordic Walking Classes & Retreats with MVMT
If you like the sound of Nordic Walking and the benefits that it brings, why not give it a go? Here at MVMT, we offer instructor-led Nordic Walking classes for all levels of ability. Whether you have never given walking a go before, or you are active on a regular basis, we are sure you’ll find our classes enjoyable. To book, simply visit our Nordic Walking page, or get in touch with our friendly team.
For those of you who also love yoga, give our Wellness Retreats a try. Experience Nordic Walking, yoga, and delicious food and drink all in one day, led by two certified instructors. Book your place today by getting in touch with us!