Movement is life, and everyone knows it. And even regular walking is good for your health and shape. And if you decide to choose the so-called Nordic walking, you can get the most out of this simple activity.
What it is?
Nordic walking is a special, recently emerging form of physical activity, which is walking with the use of special equipment (sticks) and a certain technique. This walking is often called Nordic, Nordic or Finnish. Probably, the relation of the names to the north is due to the fact that walking is somewhat similar to skiing, since it also involves the use of sticks.
For the first time, walking sticks were used in ancient times. Then the walking sticks were used by pilgrims and shepherds, when, for example, it was difficult to climb the slopes or walk the mountains. In medical gymnastics, such equipment began to be used in the last century, and in the 40s of the XX century, Finnish skiers first began to master running and walking with sticks.
They wanted to maintain their shape and skills in this way in the summer, when there was no snow and the opportunity to fully engage in skiing. For the first time, Scandinavian walking as a separate sport was described in 1979 by Mauri Rapo, but the first special poles were released only in 1997 by Exel Oyj, the same company introduced the term “Nordic walking” (more precisely, “Nordic Walking” – Nordic or Nordic walks ). Since then, this kind of sport has become quite popular, and many people choose it to this day.
Is it helpful?
The benefits of Scandinavian walking have been proven more than once by scientists and doctors. Here’s what regular exercise will give you:
- You will be able to tone almost all muscles (over 90%) by using the muscles of the legs, arms and torso while walking. Your body will become prominent and toned.
- The work of the cardiovascular system is significantly improved. Since the heart rate increases by about 10-15 per minute, there is a workout of the heart and an improvement in blood circulation. But at the same time, the increase is insignificant and does not harm the blood vessels and the heart in any way.
- It is good for the respiratory system. More oxygen enters the lungs, their volume increases markedly, which means that the respiratory organs begin to work much more efficiently, supplying oxygen to all systems and tissues of the body.
- It is good for weight loss. It has been proven that during Nordic walking, 40-50% more calories are burned than during normal walking. So, in an hour you can get rid of about 400 calories, which is a lot, especially considering that the loads are not too intense.
- This is an excellent way to maintain and even correct posture, since the spine during exercise takes the correct position from a physiological point of view.
- Catching up with such walking, you can maintain vitality, get a boost of energy and vigor, and improve your mood. You can go and, for example, listen to your favorite music, combining business with pleasure.
- This is an excellent way of healing and rehabilitation for people suffering from diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Sticks are great support. They allow you to reduce stress and pressure on your joints, while still providing the movement you need.
Can everyone do it?
This sport is suitable for almost everyone, including the elderly. Contraindications are few, but they are still there. Firstly, you should not deal with ARVI, influenza and other acute infectious diseases. Secondly, give up intense training during an exacerbation of chronic diseases.
Thirdly, there is no need to risk high blood pressure, as well as other serious and severe diseases of the cardiovascular system. Also, the list of contraindications includes varicose veins and thrombophlebitis (in severe forms) with damage to the blood vessels of the legs. In all other cases, classes are possible and useful, but it is still better to consult a doctor.
For classes, certain equipment is required – Nordic walking sticks. It should be noted right away that they differ from ordinary walking sticks and ski poles. The handle is equipped with a special holder for the hand, which allows you to minimize the load on the hand (during exercise, the hand should be as relaxed as possible).
First of all, we list the types of walking poles:
- Fixed. They are solid and are selected individually, taking into account the height of the person. This option is more durable and durable.
- Telescopic or retractable. Such a stick will have several retractable segments, which will allow you to adjust the length. This equipment is convenient to store and use, but you cannot call it strong and durable.
What else is worth paying attention to? A few of the most important points:
- Length. The sticks should not be too long or too short, this will increase the load on certain parts of the body. The optimal length can be determined by the formula: height (in centimeters) * 0.68. The error may be plus or minus 3-5 centimeters.
- Materials. Poles can be made, for example, from various composite materials, carbon fiber, carbon fiber or aluminum. In any case, the stick should be light and strong.
- Tips. If you plan to walk in areas with different landscapes, then by all means pay attention to the presence of tips. So, for walking on a smooth surface you need a rubber tip, for walking on snow or ice – a solid metal spike.
- The handle should not chafe or slip in the hand. The holder, by the way, can be removable. In any case, pay attention to its convenience.
As for shoes and clothing, it is not necessary to purchase a special uniform (although you can find it on sale today). Just choose a trainer that is comfortable and provides the support you need. Also get a tracksuit that won’t hold you back. And always dress for the weather.
How to walk correctly?
The Scandinavian walking technique is not at all difficult, but there are some rules and important points:
- The movements will be approximately the same as during normal walking, that is, rhythmic and energetic.
- The left arm should rise at the same time as the left leg, and the right arm will follow the right leg. Don’t get confused or confused.
- When pushing off from the support, the stick should be positioned with respect to the ground at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. In this case, the arm should be slightly bent at the elbow.
- First, the heel should touch the ground, then the entire foot.
- With one arm extended forward, the other should be approximately at pelvic level.
- Place the sticks close to your body.
- Don’t squeeze the sticks. Just hold them with your hands when they touch the ground, then relax your hands.
- The wider the stride, the greater the load on all muscles. So by changing the stride length, you can change the load.
- Find the pace that suits you best. Start with the minimum, and when you get used to it, start increasing the speed. But do everything gradually and consistently.
- Move naturally and at ease.
As for the frequency of training and their duration, two or three times a week is quite enough. One lesson can last from 30 to 50-60 minutes.
We offer feedback on Nordic walking classes:
- “I have been walking for only two months, but I have already noticed improvements: my sleep has returned to normal, my body has become more flexible, and stiffness in joints in the morning has disappeared. In general, I’m happy. “
- “I have been walking for a month and a half, but I can already see the results. I began to feel better and even lost one size. True, she began to eat correctly. It’s nice and useful. “
Practice Nordic walking properly and change for the better.