According to Nordic Walking UK, “Nordic Walking is an enhancement of ordinary walking… & …is a specific fitness technique and is not to be confused with trekking, hill walking….as the poles are not planted in front of the walker/runner but in a specific way that increases the use of the upper body”. If you have read my blog on Trekking Poles then you will know that I advocate the use of trekking poles in much the same way as Nordic Walkers.
So why am I discussing Nordic Walking here?
Simple – apart from being a very trendy outdoor fitness technique, it is also very good if you are slightly unstable on your legs or lack a little strength in your legs. Or basically like me – getting on a bit!
I need to make one point clear – I am not teaching you nordic walking. There are instructors who teach the art of pure nordic walking. What I am advocating is adopting the Nordic Walking style to help you enhance your walking pleasure as the inevitable effects of age finally catch up with us!
Now you know I am an advocate of getting and keeping the over 60’s active through walking and getting up the hills. Well this is a great way to achieve that because it is allowing you to use your upper body strength to supplement your legs. So what are the advantages of nordic style walking?
- It uses most of the skeletal muscles (not just your leg muscles)
- It reduces the pressure exerted on your knees and hips
- It allows you to move faster without feeling the effort
- It is great cardiovascular exercise
As I stated in my Trekking Pole blog, when walking on level ground or uphill, do not put your poles in front of your feet. This will put undue pressure on your lower back and bring on fatigue as you trying to pull with your arms. The poles should be no further forward than the side of your feet, this way you are pushing with you upper body – a more natural and relaxed stance. As you put you foot down drive through with the pole propelling yourself forward.
Next time you go our for a walk, take you trekking poles and try it out. You will find what technique benefits you and your health. Remember – trekking poles are not just to help you get up or down hill, they have benefits at all times. If you want to learn more about the pure technique of Nordic Walking then please visit the website of Nordic Walking UK where you will find a whole host of great information and advice.