Nordic Walking is not only Walking with Walking Poles

Written by: MiloŇ° Kalc, professor of physical education

Then what is Nordic walking? And what makes it different from normal walking, how does it affect the body, who is it intended for and what kind of equipment do we need?

What is Nordic Walking?

Nordic walking is a special form of walking, which became very popular in recent years. It is about walking with the help of special poles similar to Nordic skiing poles (cross-country skiing), the only difference is they are adjusted for different surfaces. This kind of workout represents a full-body workout with arms and shoulder girdle also helping legs during movement. 

Why is it Different from Normal Walking

Nordic walking is about incorporating upper part of the body and torso muscles during movement. Swinging arms and a longer step during Nordic walking allow almost 30% higher energy consumption compared to a normal walk. 

Scientists report of a higher heart rate frequency during Nordic walking in comparison to normal walking at the same movement pace. Walking pole support ensures better balance and greater safety when working out. Poles allow for the weight to also be distributed to the upper part, which partially relieves lower body joints.   

Due to this factors Nordic walking is one of the most safe and efficient recreational forms.

Who is it For?

Nordic walking is suitable for all age groups and all kind of recreational athletes.

It is suitable for all:

  • who would like to actively spend their free time in nature,
  • who want to lose weight, because this kind of aerobic activity incorporates more muscle groups than usual walking, which consequently leads to a higher energy consumption,  
  • recreational athletes who would like to be active throughout the whole year in all weather conditions,
  • elderly who would like to maintain vitality,
  • athletes who would like to improve their aerobic endurance.

For beginners we recommend longer, less intensive hikes. More experienced and better prepared recreational athletes can also try short and more intensive trainings.

Nordic Walking is not only Walking with Walking Poles

For beginners we recommend taking a Nordic walking class or at least consulting an expert, because not every walking with walking poles is Nordic walking. Nordic walking is about complying reciprocating movement of arms and legs.

Irregularities in the technique can cause more damage than good. Correct technique follows certain rules.  

Swinging walking poles allows a significantly longer step in comparison with normal walking. We stick the walking pole at an acute angle between the feet with elbow flexed at a right angle. We help ourselves with hands and push away from the surface backward. Pass hips with the arm and extend it completely at the end of the push. Let the walking pole go at the end of the push completely. Torso is slightly bent forward during Nordic walk.

What Equipment do I Need?

Typical Nordic walking equipment is of course the walking poles. Pole length primarily depends on individual's height and also on step length, walking pace, muscle power and of course on workout goals.  

To get approximate pole length multiply 0,68 with your height. Better prepared individuals can also use longer walking poles. We recommend comfortable sports clothes and shoes with a good grip.