Not your average
walk in the park

The many benefits of Nordic walking

Author: Caitlin Kehoe

sit to stand graphic

It’s no secret that walking is good for your back,
but what if there was a way to go for the strolls you enjoy,
engage more of your body, prevent disease and help
treat existing issues at the same time?
Enter Nordic walking. 

Good for the whole body

Originally created in Finland as a way for skiers to train during off-season, Nordic walking involves the use of specialized poles that engage the entire body including the chest, arms, back and abdominal muscles.

To put it in perspective, we use about 40 per cent of our bodies during regular walking. Nordic walkers, however, engage 90 per cent of their bodies.

“When you’re walking with the poles it offloads a lot of the weight from your lower body to your upper body,” explains Mandy Johnson, Alberta representative for Urban Poling Canada.

Energy consumption and heart rate are increased significantly more during Nordic walking than during standard walking. Extra muscles are worked and stimulated and a greater number of calories are burned. Over time, blood pressure, resting heart rate and overall fitness can be improved.

“It’s fantastic for developing core strength as well as strengthening and toning the biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles,” says Johnson.

“For people who are looking for a great workout, it’s kind of like taking the gym with you on the trail.

”So much more than just a workout

The health benefits of Nordic walking go beyond general fitness; research shows that it can also help prevent numerous diseases and conditions including obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, depression and chronic pain.

A study conducted by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has even shown increased muscle functionality and mobility in Nordic walkers with Parkinson’s disease and fibromyalgia syndrome.

“The implications for treating many conditions are incredible,” says Johnson.

 

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