NORDIC POLE WALKING
Tid Bits of Info
- Nordic Pole Walking reportedly uses 80% of all of the musculature in the body.
- Nordic Pole Walking is a whole-body exercise routine.
- Nordic Pole Walking can “offload” the lower extremity joints.
- Nordic Pole Walking can “burn” 20-40% more calories than regular walking.
- Nordic Pole Walking requires very little equipment, can be done anywhere, and is fun.
Healthcare professionals are always promoting the positive health benefits of walking. The problem arises when the patient or client has some kind of health-related issue that limits or eliminates their ability to walk for exercise. Nordic Pole Walking can be a helpful solution for those who need the exercise but have difficulty walking. It also offers a variety of benefits for all people trying to stay fit. The Scandinavian countries (this originated in Finland) have been walking with “poles” for a very long time (reportedly began in Finland in the 1950s) and the trend is now seeping out into the rest of the world.
Nordic Pole walking is a form of exercise that encourages someone to walk faster, have more balance, and incorporate the use of nearly every muscle in their body. The lower extremities benefit in a similar way as normal walking, but the use of poles also enables the individual to recruit the upper body musculature. The poles require the arms, chest, and upper back and abdominal musculature to continually contract which helps to build strength, add stamina and burn more calories than normal walking.
Anyone can benefit from this form of exercise. This type of walking is a whole-body exercise routine that is low impact and fun to perform. There are numerous benefits of pole walking including improved posture, cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, balance and it can be performed nearly anywhere.
The use of poles enables someone to walk in a more upright which helps to maintain proper posture. This in turn enables the musculature to function at a higher level and provide more stability and strength. Many “pole walkers” have reported less neck and back pain because they are able to stand more erect. The poles give more confidence and the speed that someone walks with the poles has been shown to be faster than those with no poles. The increased speed taxes the cardiovascular system and helps to improve cardiovascular fitness. The use of the poles helps to “unload” the lower extremity joints because the upper extremities help to support their body weight. This can enable someone with lower extremity pain or dysfunction to be able to walk as a form of exercise.
The correct use of poles requires the proper size pole and arm swing technique. The pole should be at a height that places the elbow at a 90-degree angle when the arm is at the side and the pole is vertical. When walking, the arm swing will help to determine the length of stride that will occur when walking. When the pole swing is long the stride will be faster, longer, and more powerful. This will produce more positive health benefits over time. During the swing phase of gait, the arms and legs work in opposites. The right arm swings as the left leg strides forward. Use the poles in the same manner. The grip on the pole handle should be mild and the goal is to never drag the trailing pole. This helps to speed up gait, protects the pole, and makes the body use more muscle force and burn more calories.
Nordic Pole Walking has been around for a very long time but recently is being performed throughout the world by all types of people. There are numerous health benefits including improvement in cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, balance, posture, and a reduction in body weight by burning more calories. It is a low impact exercise routine that requires very little equipment and is fun to perform.