Nordic Walking

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As the name Nordic Walking suggests, the sport comes from Scandinavia. Cross-country skiers, biathletes and Nordic combined athletes kept themselves fit in summer. From there, the training method spilled over into the whole world. With success. Nowadays, stick fans all over the world explore the highest Nordic walking route in the mountains, jet through specially created walking trails or arrange to meet for a “Nordic walking meeting”.

nordic walking how to

Why Nordic Walking is healthy

Although some may smile at the sticks, couch potatoes from Nordic walkers should learn a slice. Because the lively movement stresses the heart and circulation, stimulates the metabolism, strengthens muscles and bones and removes excess pounds. If you swing the sticks back and forth, you will also strengthen your arms, shoulders and back. “Nordic walking is an effective but moderate outdoor sport that is less prone to injury,” confirms Dr. Petra Mommert-Jauch, qualified sports teacher at the Walking Institute.

Nordic walking fans can use this endurance sport to reduce their risk of numerous typical age-related complaints. For example for osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and back pain. In addition, brisk walking helps you lose weight. “If you set a speed of around six kilometers per hour, you will burn around 400 kilocalories during this time,” says our experts.

Not that easy: the technology

Provided the technology is right. But there is often a problem. Many people put their sticks too far in front of their bodies or push themselves off with them. Others really walk “on a stick”, so they lean on it. The Nordic Walking expert advises: “Do not stretch your knee in front when you come up, and do not walk with too much heel.” If you take too long steps, you put unnecessary strain on your knees, hips and back. If you put your heel down too steeply and stretch your knee extremely at the front, you can possibly damage the joint more than jogging. According to Mommert-Jauch, walking with a waist-hugging gait is not very suitable either. If you are unsure about technology, let a well-trained trainer explain the whole thing to you or take a Nordic walking course for beginners.

The subject of sticks is a science in itself. They usually consist of feather-light carbon, graphite or aluminum. The handles are made of more or less non-slip material. For example, cork is supposed to absorb sweat. The hand strap should not be missing either. But that’s not all. Some sticks can be adjusted in height, others not. Some clack thanks to their metal tip more beautifully than any dance shoe, others end in a rubber stopper. Some providers also advertise the ultimate “anti-shock damping system”.

What makes a good Nordic walking stick?

Carbon and graphite have the advantage over aluminum that they are very light and vibrate little. The special hand strap, which guarantees safe guidance and lets the stick “fly”, is also essential. “The hand strap only enables the walking technique when Nordic walking”, knows the Donaueschingen expert. The length of the pole also plays an important role. Mommert-Jauch’s tip: Stand up straight and bend your forearms at a 90 degree angle. The handle of the stick is ideally about two inches below the hands. Height-adjustable models offer advantages when hiking in the mountains, but vibrate more strongly and are therefore only partially suitable for Nordic walking. By the way: don’t be tempted to misuse the ski poles. You can’t walk with them!

Once you’ve scoured the cane jungle, you’re almost ready to start. Wear breathable, comfortable clothing. Use cycling gloves if you get blisters on your fingers easily. Put on sports or running shoes with a stable, springy sole. The sports shop also has special walking shoes. Let us advise you calmly which shoe suits your needs.

Walking and Power Walking

Although Nordic Walking is basically suitable for everyone, you should have a doctor check you out beforehand. If you cannot walk too fast – for example because of heart, knee or hip problems – the Nordic variant suits you better than faster walking. Man or woman walk briskly through the park without sticks. Walking is more challenging for the cardiovascular system than Nordic walking. The latter is more effective in helping you lose weight. Because more muscles are used by stick work than with a simple running pace. You burn fat with both variants – walking as well as Nordic style. Power walking demands the body even more intensely and often does more harm than good. Power walkers set such a pace that they outrun some joggers at more than eight kilometers per hour. The joints, however, are not happy about it.

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