Nordic walking can help many problems, not just poor circulation. Patients with arthritis in their hips, knees or feet will also find it easier to walk using the poles. Nordic walking also makes your body exercise harder than ordinary walking, but feels easier, so it is a very good way to get fitter.
How can you make walking a better overall workout without feeling like you are exerting any more energy? How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain many get from working at desks and computers? Across Europe, millions of people have taken up Nordic walking to give them a good workout and loosen their neck and shoulders.
What is Nordic Walking?
Nordic walking uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross country skiing, the poles are used by the arms to match each step the person takes.
How is it better than just walking?
For a better but easier cardio workout, Nordic walking increases your heart rate without increasing your perceived rate of exertion. You get a better workout without feeling like you are working any harder. While you can get a similar heart rate effect by walking faster, there are many people who do not want to walk faster or, like you, cannot walk fast.
The technique is a simple enhancement of normal arm swing when walking.
• The poles remain behind and pointing diagonally backwards at all times.
• Shoulders are relaxed and down.
• Poles are held close to the body.
• The hands are opened slightly to allow the poles to swing forward - the poles are not gripped but swing from the wrist straps.
• The leading foot strikes the ground.
• The opposite arm swings forward to waist height.
• The opposite pole strikes the ground level with the heel of the opposite foot.
• The poles remain pointing diagonally backwards; they are never in front of the body.
• Push the pole as far back as possible, the arm straightening to form a continuous line with the fully extended arm, the hand opening off the grip by the end of the arm swing.
• The foot rolls through the step to push off with the toe. This lengthens the stride behind the body, getting the most out of each stride.
• The arm motion is loose and relaxed.