Have you heard of Nordic Walking and want to know everything about this trend sport? Virgile Van-Rampelbergh, Nordic Walking trainer at the French Light Sports Association, tells you everything about this dynamic full-body sport, which offers many benefits for body and mind!
THE ESSENTIALS IN BRIEF:
- Nordic walking is an effective cardiovascular workout and uses 90 percent of the muscles.
- It is equally suitable for beginners and advanced users, is gentle on the joints and helps you lose weight.
- In addition to the right technique, sticks are the most important piece of sports equipment in Nordic Walking.
WHAT IS NORDIC WALKING?
Nordic walking is an outdoor sport that is popular all year round as a recreational sport. But watch out, Nordic Walking is not about putting one foot in front of the other, this sport is practiced with the help of sticks that have been specially designed for it. The stick is therefore the most important item in your Nordic walking equipment.
With Nordic Walking, the sticks enable you to push forward faster and, moreover, strain all your muscles. In contrast to hiking, the sticks are not placed vertically in front of the body, but are directed backwards, as in cross-country skiing. In this way, the sticks enable faster movement and the Nordic walker’s step is athletic.
For beginners, we recommend subtracting 5 cm from the determined pole length. It is ideal if the arms have a slightly less than 90 degree angle when standing.
WHAT DOES THE WALKING STOCK MATTER?
The stick is the most important thing in Nordic walking. So that you can perform the technique correctly, you should pay special attention to the right length of your walking stick. The rule of thumb for Nordic Walking poles is: body size in cm x 0.7 = pole length. Nordic walking sticks are made of carbon, fiberglass, aluminum or a mix of these materials. Classic models are made from one piece and are not adjustable. Alternatively, you can use a telescopic pole for Nordic walking.
However, these models, which are usually used as trekking poles, have the disadvantage that they do not dampen sweeping movements. If you opt for a telescopic pole for Nordic Walking: pay attention to a continuously adjustable system. The walking stick can easily be used by several people.
The tip of the stick is also important. For training on asphalt, you should definitely put shock-absorbing pads on the tip of the pole. The rubber buffers give your poles more grip so that you can push yourself off without slipping even on hard ground.
WHO IS NORDIC WALKING SUITABLE FOR?
As an endurance sport, Nordic Walking is an excellent choice for getting back in shape and staying in shape. It is aimed equally at women and men, athletic as well as unsportsmanlike, who want to do something for their health and want to start exercising again.
Regardless of your age, physical condition and state of health, there is always a suitable formula. Everyone practices Nordic walking as they wish, tailored to their personal goals and physical condition. Thanks to the relief provided by sticks, the sport is particularly suitable for people with back and knee problems.
It is possible to join an association or club that offers various Nordic Walking training lessons or to do Nordic Walking alone. The important thing here is to be correctly equipped and to master the basics of Nordic Walking.
What you should definitely not save on are suitable Nordic walking shoes. So that you have a secure grip even on rough terrain, you should make sure that you have a non-slip sole. At the same time, the shoe for walking should be light, flexible and breathable. When trying on, make sure that there is around a finger’s breadth in the front toe area.
WHERE DOES THE NORDIC WALKING COME FROM?
Some mountain lovers and cross-country skiing fans have been practicing a type of Nordic walking for several decades. They also use the summer season to keep exercising by walking quickly and with sticks.
Nordic walking as we know it goes back more to the end of the 1990s. In 1994, the Finnish sports trainer Marko Kantaneva published a method of walking with sticks that was inspired by cross-country skiing. He completed them with a series of exercises designed to maintain and improve the various physical characteristics.
In the 2000s, various French sports players took part in the further development of Nordic Walking. This sport has been regulated by the French Athletics Federation since 2009.
HOW DOES NORDIC WALKING AND WALKING DIFFER?
The most important difference between Nordic walking and walking is that you only use your arms when you walk. With Nordic walking you also work with sticks, which significantly increases the health effect. Then:
- The use of sticks for Nordic Walking reduces the strain on your musculoskeletal system. This is why the sport is also very suitable for people with knee or back problems.
- Nordic walking stimulates your energy expenditure much more than classic walking. The calorie consumption increases by around 50 percent when swinging the sticks. This makes Nordic walking ideal for burning fat.
HOW DOES NORDIC WALKING CORRECTLY?
Nordic walking is one of the healthiest sporting activities. If you do it right, you will train over 90 percent of your muscles. So it can be a little strenuous in order for you to achieve a training effect.
With Nordic Walking you swing your arms out of your shoulder with every step. It is important here that you keep your arms long. The stick is placed as flat as possible and next to your core. When you swing back, you pull the stick forward along the ground.
Depending on the training goal, you can sit down and move backwards with different dynamics. You decide how much propulsion you want to get by pressing on your hand straps.
Basically, the movements in Nordic Walking correspond to our natural movement pattern. In order to learn the technique properly, however, it is helpful to attend a walking course.
Have fun with Nordic walking!