Fast and fun, Nordic walking could be just the activity you need©GettyImages

Fast and fun, Nordic walking could be just the activity you need

Step out and exercise like a Scandi, Nordic walking could be just the activity you need

Walking is an excellent exercise for cardiovascular health and for the whole body. And Nordic walking is even better. Not only is it faster but, done properly, it mobilizes up to 90% of your muscles. That makes it particularly good for burning calories, of course, making it a great weight loss aid, but that’s far from being the only benefit.

Dr. Elena Isla, a sports medicine specialist with Sanitas, enthuses: “It is an all-round aerobic exercise that improves endurance, strength, flexibility, coordination and balance.”

Fast and fun, Nordic walking could be just the activity you need©GettyImages

What is Nordic walking?

Developed in Finland as training for cross-country skiers, it has become one of the most popular sports today.

Walkers move at a pace where they have only just enough breath to talk, using special sticks to give them the momentum necessary to bring the whole body into play. The sticks offer support and ensure correct posture.

Does age matter?

It can be an appropriate form of exercise at any age. Using the sticks reduces stress on the hip and leg joints, which are often an issue for older people. As Dr. Isla points out, as well as helping keep weight in check:

“Nordic walking can contribute to the prevention of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and problems with posture and mobility, as well as reinforcing the immune system, all important considerations as we age.”

Mood lift

“As an activity that takes place outdoors in natural surroundings and in social groups, Nordic walking reduces stress, anxiety and depression and promotes better sleep quality. It also enhances our ability to concentrate,” explains Dr. Isla.

Before starting

To avoid injuries, it’s important to warm up both the upper and lower body. Appropriate clothing is needed, which means breathable garments and footwear designed for walking. Specialist equipment consists of the sticks, which have loops to attach them to the hands, and rubber hand pads to help with grip and comfort - these should have a diagonal groove into which the sticks fit.

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