Nordic Walking Is My Favorite Form of Cardio—Here’s Why You Should Try It

Author Harold Daniel

Posted Mar 16, 2023

Reads 4.5K

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Nordic walking is my favorite form of cardio—here's why you should try it. I've heard it all before, the inevitable shouts of "asphalt skiing" and "what are those poles for?" as I'm walking on paved trails with the poles I've earned from a decade ago when I started competing in Nordic walking. It may sound odd to some, but this sport called Nordic walking originated from cross-country skiers looking for a way to train during the warmer months.

At first, I was hesitant to try something new, but the moment I picked up my first pair of poles and started moving, I knew this was something different. The point held true when I broke world records in marathon distance by covering 20 miles. Not only does Nordic walking provide an excellent full-body workout, but it also allows me to meet people while enjoying nature at the same time.

Nordic walking originated as a dry-land/warm-weather training alternative for cross-country skiers.

Nordic walking is a low-impact aerobic sport that originated as a dry-land/warm-weather training alternative for cross-country skiers. This snow-free version of cross-country skiing classic style involves the use of specially designed poles to propel oneself forward while walking. The entire body gets involved in this gentle purr, and the ski tips move steadily as your arms swing back and forth. In fact, Nordic walking burns more calories than regular walking or running because it uses up to 90% of your body's muscles, making it an efficient workout choice.

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The Finnish technically invented Nordic walking in the 1930s as a way for off-season skiers to stay fit. Today, Nordic walking has gained popularity worldwide, especially among exercise buddies who enjoy getting outside in a wooded area and experiencing nature while working out at a steady beat. It is even an Olympic rowing competition event for athletes who need to maintain their heart imbalances and overall fitness levels. Fun fact: I am 51 percent Finn myself!

Discover the simple way to Nordic walking!

Nordic walking is quickly becoming a favorite cardio exercise for many fitness enthusiasts. Experts noted that this technique involves walking while holding poles alongside your body at a 45-degree angle, which engages your upper body muscles and burns more calories than regular walking. According to the American Nordic Walking Association (ANWA), this low-impact activity can be done by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. ANWA even offers a free beginners guide to help you get started.

One important part of Nordic walking is finding the right poles. Experts noted that Nordic walking poles are specifically designed with rubber tips and wrist straps attached, which allow you to push forward with each step and accelerate as you walk. It's also important to choose poles of the proper length and grip. Dr. Aaron Baggish encourages beginners to use wrist straps with their poles since they reduce wrist injury.

Finally, proper technique is key when it comes to getting the most out of Nordic walking. Experts have noted that it's important to maintain a vertical position during your foot strike and normal arm swing while pushing off with your poles. By maintaining this form, you'll offer tremendous benefits for your overall health and wellness while enjoying a fun outdoor activity!

1. Turn walking into a full-body workout

Nordic walking is an excellent way to turn regular walking into a full-body workout. By adding poles, you engage major muscle groups in your arms, shoulders, and chest, making it a more effective workout than regular walking. According to Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of "Fit to Live" and contributor to the Workout Baggish estimating calorie expenditure during unit time of exercise, nordic walking burns around 20-40% more calories than regular walking. This is because the poles involved in nordic walking help propel you forward and work your upper body muscles while you walk faster than you would without them.

Additionally, nordic walking can boost your heart rate and provide weight-bearing exercise for your legs. With all these muscle groups engaged meaningfully, it's easy to see why Nordic walking is becoming a favorite cardio choice over other machines like the stair stepper or elliptical trainer. So next time you're looking for a way to increase the calories you're burning during your workout, grab some poles and try out Nordic Walking!

2. Reduce risk of injury

Nordic walking is an amazing tool for cardio enthusiasts who want to reduce the risk of injury. Experts noted that this type of exercise helps provide stability and prevent falls, especially for those who are dealing with balance issues. By using poles, Nordic walking encourages proper posture and weight distribution, which can help alleviate stress on joints and muscles.

Adding Nordic walking to your repertoire baggish is a great way to stay active while also improving your overall health and wellness. Whether you're new to exercise or a seasoned athlete, this low-impact workout is a great way to get your heart pumping without putting unnecessary strain on your body. So why not give Nordic walking a try today? Your body will thank you!

3. It can help anyone can boost their heart health

Nordic walking is a great option for anyone looking to improve their heart health. It's a heart-healthy workout that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart disease. Experts noted that physical activity is one of the key factors in reducing the risk of heart disease, and Nordic walking is an excellent way to get your activity level up.

Studies have shown that people who engage in moderate intensity activity, like Nordic walking, for at least 150 minutes per week, reap huge clinical benefits. By improving exercise capacity and reducing risk factors that drive heart disease, this low-impact exercise can help prevent or manage a range of conditions related to heart health. The bottom line is that Nordic walking is something that many healthy adults can feel comfortable doing a couple times a week, making it an easy addition to any fitness routine.

Experience the Many Advantages of Nordic Walking Today!

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Nordic walking is an excellent form of cardio that provides many benefits. It's a low-impact exercise that works your whole body, burns calories faster than regular walking, and can be done anywhere. Additionally, it improves balance, posture, and coordination while being easy on the joints. So why not give Nordic walking a try today? You'll be amazed at how good you'll feel!

1. Low impact

Nordic walking is a good alternative to traditional forms of cardio exercise. This low-impact activity can help reduce joint pain and redistribute weight, making it easier on your joints. Research argues that using poles for nordic walking is beneficial as it helps increase muscular strength and reduces joint loading compared to traditional walking or prolonged high impact exercises like running.

If you're looking for a way to stay active without putting too much stress on your joints, consider giving nordic walking a try. With the added benefits of increased muscular strength and reduced joint loading, you may find that it's a better fit for your fitness routine than other high impact activities like running. So grab some poles and hit the trails – your joints will thank you!

2. Good for heart health

Nordic walking appears to be an excellent low impact option for improving cardiovascular fitness. This form of exercise engages both lower and upper-body muscles, requiring greater effort from the body's cardiorespiratory system. In fact, a small review of studies found that Nordic walking programs showed significantly improved exercise capacity, exercise duration, and oxygen uptake compared to standard cardiac rehabilitation programs in heart disease patients. Additionally, heart failure patients showed significant improvements in lung capacity and exercise duration when participating in a Nordic walking program compared to a control group.

Furthermore, while participants may not notice a large difference in perceived exhaustion (RPE) compared to other forms of exercise, their body is working harder (4-5 on a scale of 1-10). This slight increase in effort can lead to significant improvements in heart health over time. So if you're looking for a low-impact but effective way to boost your cardiovascular fitness and improve your overall health, consider giving Nordic walking a try!

3. May improve balance and functional abilities

Nordic walking is a great way to improve balance and functional abilities. In fact, a 10-week study conducted on older adults observed significant improvements in their balance and functional mobility after participating in a nordic walking group compared to a traditional walking group. Other studies have found that nordic walking can be effective in improving quality of life, dynamic balance, muscle strength in the lower body, and aerobic capacity.

In one study of 135 people with coronary artery disease, it was found that nordic walking led to greater improvements in functional capacity than complete functions or work compared to high intensity interval training or moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training. So if you're looking for a low-impact exercise that can help you improve your overall health, consider giving nordic walking a try!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use ski poles for Nordic walking?

Yes, ski poles can be used for Nordic walking as they serve the same purpose of providing balance and propulsion. However, it is recommended to use poles specifically designed for Nordic walking for optimal comfort and performance.

Are Nordic Poles good for arthritis?

Yes, Nordic poles can be helpful for arthritis as they help to reduce joint pain and improve balance while walking. They also provide an effective low-impact workout for overall health and fitness.

Does Nordic walking burn more calories than regular walking?

Yes, Nordic walking can burn up to 46% more calories than regular walking due to the use of poles and increased engagement of upper body muscles.

What muscles does Nordic walking work?

Nordic walking works the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, back, and legs. It engages approximately 90% of your body's muscles and can provide an effective full-body workout.

Can pole walking ease arthritis pain?

Yes, pole walking can ease arthritis pain by reducing stress on the joints and providing low-impact exercise that improves mobility and flexibility. Studies have shown that regular pole walking can also help reduce inflammation in the body.

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Harold Daniel

Writer at RHTB

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Harold Daniel is a writer and photographer based in the Pacific Northwest. He has a passion for exploring the great outdoors, which often inspires his work. Harold's blog covers a variety of topics, from travel and adventure to personal development and self-care.

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