Developed in Finland in the 1950's, Nordic Walking is an enhancement of ordinary walking. It is a specific fitness technique, not to be confused with trekking or hill walking. By using specially designed poles and straps, the poles are planted behind the body to provide propulsion making you walk faster and feel lighter!
As Nordic Walking works the upper part of the body as well as the legs, it is great for posture and is an effective all over body work out. It can burn up to twice as many calories as ordinary walking. It is recommended by fitness experts and health professionals because it is simple, highly effective and affordable.
Nordic Walking is great for all round health and fitness as it:
- uses 90% of your major muscles and can burn 20 - 40% more calories than normal walking.
- takes pressure off your knees and joints.
- does not require expensive equipment or clothing.
- is one of the most effective cross training techniques for athletes and sports people who require ultimate cardiovascular and endurance conditioning.
Nordic Walking began in Northern Europe as summer training for cross country skiing, a sport considered to be one of the world’s most complete aerobic fitness activities. By using ski poles and applying the cross country technique to walking, Nordic skiers maintained their fitness and strength during the summer months.
Nordic Walking is one of the fastest growing recreational fitness sports in the world, and has its roots in early 1930 in Finland as an off season training method for competitive cross-country skiers. Development of Nordic Walking to its present form as a recreational physical activity for all started in early 1980 in Finland and in 1997 the first official Nordic Walking poles were introduced to the public and Nordic Walking officially became a sport of its own. It rapidly spread from Finland to the rest of Europe, to the USA and the rest of the world. The estimated populaton of Nordic Walkers is now over 10 million.
As more people begin to understand its benefits, Nordic Walking is increasing in popularity in Great Britain, and a growing number of enthusiastic Nordic Walkers are now appearing in our countryside, on footpaths in the forests and even on the beaches.
Nordic Walking is great for individuals who:
- Are ex-runners wanting to achieve the same intensity as running, but without the high impact on the joints
- Need to increase caloric expenditure but have walking speed limitations
- Need to lose weight for health benefits
- Need to put less stress on their joints
- Need motivation to increase their physical activity
- Need stability when walking
- Have orthopaedic problems
- Are athletes recovering from injury
- Are athletes seeking cross training activities