Nordic walking

Nordic walking

How to improve our health and shape without shortness of breath and muscle pain

Scandinavian or Nordic walking is called quite natural walking with the help of special sticks resembling ski sticks.

Although naturally, Scandinavian walking is not called randomly so. It is specific, with certain features and many benefits.

History

Finnish professional skiers are considered founders. As early as the 1940s, they developed a methodology that allowed them to keep fit in the off-season.

In the middle of the 20th century, the Finnish Association for Sports Recreation began to be thoroughly interested in walking and movement as a form of fitness training. As a result of empirical and scientific research, under her leadership, special wills for this specific walking have been developed together with a commercial company. They are shorter than those for skiing, they have a special glove-strap that allows the user to relax their hand.

According to the intensity of the impact on the body, Nordic walking is a mixture between vigorous walking and running. It loads not only the legs, but also the muscles of the upper body. It is extremely important that there is no shock load on the joints.

With its advantages and comfort during exercise, this walking became popular first in Finland and other Scandinavian countries, hence its name. Then it spread quite quickly to other countries of Europe and the world.

Nowadays this sport enjoys great popularity all over the world and even competitions are held. For several years its popularity has been growing in Bulgaria, too.

Who is Nordic walking suitable for?

  • For anyone looking for an extremely gentle form of fitness. Such are people with multiple health problems and/or a poor joint condition.
  • For those who have not engaged in physical activity for a long time. Many people have a desire for sport but lack air or have too weak muscles for running or cycling.
  • For overweight people. In contrast to running, Nordic walking does not impose the shock load on the joints, which is dangerous if a person is overweight. And this applies to training on all surfaces, be it forest trails, snow, pavement or asphalt.
  • For old people. Nordic walking is usually associated with middle-aged and elderly people. This is no coincidence. Low joint stress, natural body movements and slow pace make this kind of aerobic workouts safe and comfortable for people of all ages.
  • For people with specific medical conditions. Nordic walking has shown significant benefits during rehabilitation after coronary heart disease, for people with peripheral vascular disorders, with chronic neck and lower back pain.

Who is Nordic walking not suitable for?

  • For people with viral disease in the acute phase – acute respiratory diseases, influenza.
  • For people after abdominal operations – until medical permission.
  • For people with degenerative or inflammatory processes of the musculoskeletal system – until medical permission.
  • For people with high blood pressure during hypertensive crisis and impaired heart beat – after passing the crisis – to a doctor’s permission.

How to choose sticks for Nordic walking?

The twigs are the only thing you need. Besides comfortable clothes, their price depends on the brand, materials and design and can vary greatly.

We will quickly pay attention to these few criteria when choosing a specific model.

  1. Material

The rods can be made of aluminum alloys or fiberglass with the addition of carbon fiber. Fiberglass makes them lighter and healthier, but at the same time increases their price. The higher the percentage of carbon, the higher the price of the wills.

  1. Design

There are fixed length wills and telescopic folding models with two or three sections. Fixed ones are healthier and cheaper, and folding ones are more convenient for storage and transportation. Another advantage of telescopic wills is that they can be used by people of different heights.

  1. Size

Those of fixed length must take into account the height of the person using them. The formula is applied: the height of the person (cm) × 0.68 = length of the shall be applied. For example, for a person 170 cm tall, you will need 115 cm in length ± 5 cm.

If it is possible to try the sticks before buying by fastening the sticks in your hands and placing them next to your feet, the elbows should be folded at right angles.

  1. Strap type

Unlike hiking and skiing sticks, Nordic walking models have special straps resembling gloves. This facilitates grip and prevents them from falling from the palm when the fingers are completely open.

Some models have special strap sticks, so it is not necessary to remove your hand – just press a button and release the part of the stick in one motion.

Tips

The set should include attachments for different surfaces: rubber “”shoes”” for asphalt, attachments with a deep protector for rough terrain and a snow option reminiscent of ski sticks.

Special shoes are not needed, but let them be comfortable and suitable for prolonged walking.

How to walk properly?

Nordic walking is a natural movement, it requires almost no mastery and cannot harm with improper execution.

However, there are a few things to consider for maximum efficiency.

Take the sticks in your hands, fasten the wrist straps. Straighten your back and relax your shoulders.

Step forward with your right foot. Step on your heel and move gently under the broom to your fingers without stepping full foot.

Place the end of the mark on the ground where it was when you carried your hand in front of the body. Lean on the will and move forward to take the next step.

When the body slides forward, straighten your elbow, open your palm and leave your fingers loose.

Continue walking, successively stretching the opposite hand and leg in front of you. Move naturally and without tension.

On the Internet there are countless films about “”Nordic Walking””, in which you can visually get an idea of what it is about.

Breathe freely, calmly and evenly, synchronized with movements. A good option is one inhalation every 2 steps and one exhalation 3-4 steps. Inhalation is done through the nose, including the diaphragm, and exhalation through the mouth with the abdomen.

For yoga practitioners, we recommend full Yogesh breathing – inhalation with belly, transition to diaphragm and ending with the upper part of the lungs, and exhalation in reverse sequence and double duration relative to inhalation.

Eating in Scandinavian walking resembles eating in cardio-workouts. Contact our trainer to prepare a personal diet tailored to your lifestyle and individual characteristics.

What mistakes should be avoided when walking?

Technical errors will not cause injury, but they can reduce performance, delay results or cause discomfort. So, try to fix them over time.

  • Movement with eponymous leg and hand. It is difficult to achieve, because it contradicts the natural movements of the body when walking, but it is not impossible. Some beginners in their efforts do not coordinate movements and move forward with the same hand and foot. This makes the gait unnatural and disrupts the pace. To restore proper walking, just relax – the body will only return to natural movements.
  • Tightened move it on the arm. During the Nordic walk, the shoulders should move freely back and forth. Keep your elbows away from your body, limiting the range of movement of your hands.
  • Sticking the wills vertically into the ground. You do not need to lift the plugs high and stick them in front of your feet, such as hiking sticks or for help pulling loads. Hands move freely, sticks are tilted and lean on the ground where they reach, when you stretch your hand forward without hitting them
  • Asynchronous work of the hands and feet. This error breaks the tempo and prevents the body from moving naturally.
  • Tilt the body backwards. Do not tilt back, keep your back upright, but also do not bend your gaze under your feet – look straight ahead.

How often do we practice Nordic walking?

During the empirical and scientific studies that have proven the advantages of Nordic walking, cardio sessions are organized from two to four times a week for 20–70 minutes.

The most effective are training with three sessions a week for 30 minutes. You can start with this mode and change it to your own sense. Each person is different, leads a different lifestyle and has varying degrees of training, possibly overweight and other diseases. If you feel good and everything is fine, gradually increase the duration and frequency of your sessions.

Have you tried Nordic walking yet? Share in the comments, this will be of use to everyone and will support the hesitant.