We all know that walking is a great way to keep fit and stay active. But did you know that Nordic Walking (aka Pole Walking) is an even better way? A pair of poles can turn simple steps into a full-body workout that’s as convenient as regular walking, but offers much greater returns in terms of health and wellness.
Walk Your Way to Fitness
Not only does Nordic Walking use up to 90% of the body’s muscle groups – as opposed to the 40-50% used during regular walking – it gives you a better cardiovascular workout, improves posture and balance, and can burn up to 46% more calories than your regular walk!
Research is pretty supportive of the strong connections linking physical activity, fresh, nutritionally-dense meals, and improved health benefits. Now studies are beginning to show a more direct link between those health benefits and the activity of Nordic Walking specifically.
One study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, concluded that, “Overall, Nordic walking has been shown to be a form of physical activity with convincing benefits for health in general and has superior short-term and long-term effects on the cardiorespiratory system as compared to brisk walking.” Chalk one up for the poles.
Something for Everyone
One of the best things about an activity like Nordic Walking is that practically anybody can enjoy it and benefit from it. Because it’s low-impact, it’s an ideal form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. Just like regular walking, Nordic Walking lets you control how fast you move and how hard you work. But unlike regular walking or running, the use of specialized poles means there’s less stress on the hips and knees, and a greater sense of comfort in terms of balance for the older walker.
For those with conditions like diabetes, any physical activity like walking that moves the large muscle groups can help with the body’s sensitivity to insulin. And diabetes research indicates that the exercise provided by an activity like Nordic Walking might just lead to improved blood glucose control. But be sure to check with your doctor first, if you’re thinking of giving Poling a try.
The Benefits of Buddies
Nordic Walking is a great fitness activity that doesn’t feel like a workout. Just like regular walking, it’s effective when you do it by yourself, but it’s the ideal pursuit for sharing with friends and family. Nordic Walking groups are springing up everywhere, but if there isn’t one to join nearby, why not consider organizing one yourself? Grab your poles and get out there, because research shows that working out with a group on a regular basis not only helps to keep you motivated, it can actually extend your lifespan!
As the official worldwide organization for Nordic Walking since 2000, the International Nordic Walking Federation describes this ultimate walking method as “a safe, natural, dynamic, efficient and suitable-for-all form of a physical activity that trains the body in a holistic, symmetrical and balanced way.” And that just about covers everything you could possibly want from a workout.