Nordic walking, or Scandinavian walking, is a very popular form of active leisure. Nowadays millions of adherents around the world practice it. People take sticks, very similar to ski, in their hands and walk in winter and summer, on asphalt and field terrain, through meadows and mountains, and the main feature of this kind of walking that sticks do not allow them to get tired of many kilometers of walks. What is the secret of this sport?
Scientific backgroundAccording to the research of the British National Health Institute, while walking with sticks, women burn 18% more calories, and men – 21%. Average calorie expenditure is about 350 cal/h. According to experts, Nordic walking is very useful, because it involves different muscle groups, increases stamina, activates the heart. This activity is only mildly strenuous, it fits for almost all ages and physical conditions, and gets you out of the house and among people. Indeed, any beginner, regardless of age and level of physical condition, notes that with sticks he can walk much longer, enjoys lovely landscapes and fresh air, and does not hurt the muscles from an unusually high load. And it’s because the load is not only on the back and legs (especially knees) as in ordinary walking. By using sticks, weight is evenly redistributed throughout the body, and a 90% of all body muscles actively work in the most optimal mode.
- You burn 20% more calories than with normal walking for the same period of time.
- There is no excessive load on the knee joints.
- The muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, chest and back are evenly trained.
- Regular walking trains overall body stability, which is important for the elderly and those who are prone to dizziness.
Nordic walking techniquePretty the same as when skiing. However, there are several methods: shortening and lengthening your pace, depending on the soil; double-poling up the hills that are predominantly steep; full-speed bounding, in case you are specifically fit for that. It is very easy to learn it, and the change of technique allows you to diversify your training and be less tired. You can walk with sticks on any terrain, but hills are best. The main thing is to feel comfortable. Keep your shoulders free and relaxed, the sticks close to your body.
How to choose sticksYou can check the sticks’ length in the following way: grip the handle, the elbow should be at a 90 degrees angle to the stick. If the stick tip touches the ground, its length is correct. There are two types of sticks tips: rubber for smooth hard surfaces (asphalt, stones) and pointed metal (earth, sand, ice).
Walking to healthScientists say that walking is the first step to prevent cardiovascular diseases. More than that, walking relieves depression and heartsinking. 2-3 workouts per week for 30-40 minutes are enough to maintain a good physical shape. You can do more, just increase walking time gradually. In case you need to lose weight, have a daily 1-hour walking. But do not go too fast. The pulse should not exceed 110-120 beats per minute and you should not gasp. Even breathing is a sign that the tempo is chosen correctly. Then fat is burning actively. If you are exhausted, it is better to take a short break, because excessive loads will bring more harm than good to your body.
How to breathe correctlyThe breathing rhythm can be conveniently adjusted to steps: inhale for 1-2, exhale for 3-4-5. Scientists proved that already in 30 minutes after beginning of physical exercises with proper breathing, our body begins to produce endorphins, so-called hormones of happiness. These substances not only relieve stress and strengthen the immune system, but also enhance the person’s mental and creative abilities.
Walk and be healthy!