Nordic Walking for Health
Most of us when we think about getting fit, losing weight or doing something that is good for us we tend to associate these goals with a certain amount of discomfort and punishment along the way.
Much of this ‘seems’ true.
How often have you seen a runner with a big smile on their face? Next time you see one look at their facial expression, most look like they are on a Middle Ages torture machine some for the second time judging by the amount of tape strapped to their limbs. The same goes for diet ‘I can’t I’m on a diet’ as they watch salivating at everyone else enjoying the moment. Only further adding to their misery of how they feel about themselves. I think the worst I hear is ‘I’m going to the gym when I’ve lost weight.’
Makes you think doesn’t it? Read on….
In this blog I’m going to outline why Nordic Walking is ideal for everyone and in particular I will focus on certain medical conditions and how these conditions could be physically/mentally limiting and the benefits of Nordic Walking for such conditions. Nordic walking is one of the few workouts which works the whole body in a gentle but extremely effective way as it distributes the intensity of the workload between the upper and lower body. Many forms of other activity/sports only work specific key muscle groups at any one time reducing endurance as fatigue is inevitable regardless of stamina and fitness. That doesn’t mean you won’t become fatigued Nordic Walking!!
Nordic Walking for Yourself, Friends and Family
Health Warning: Nordic Warning Feels So Good and is Good For You
Joint, bone and muscular conditions
Unfortunately, at some point in our lives we will feel or know someone feeling the effects of these conditions either through ageing gracefully or from long term injury. Being in active only exasperates these conditions and causes further health issues. Nordic walking is excellent for osteoporosis, joint replacements, arthritis, and weak or painful joints. My clients who have these conditions have said time and time again how life changing Nordic walking has been. In using the poles body weight is distributed across the whole body making you feel instantly lighter on your feet. The poles provide support and increase stability which
- increases mobility,
- increasing balance,
- increasing posture,
- increasing strength.
Nordic walking helps reduce osteoporosis as being outside increases exposure for Vitamin D increasing the absorption of calcium increasing bone density reducing the likelihood of falls and fractures. The additional postural benefits will also reduce fractures and sprains as good posture will strengthen common fracture areas of the wrists, hips and spine. Further still Nordic walking can relieve/ limit joint pain with good Nordic Walking technique and good posture.
Circulatory conditions, heart conditions and high blood pressure….reduces stress and helps with circulation
Nordic walking is becoming ever increasingly popular for those with these medical conditions. The reason being is it is less intimidating and exhausting than typical exercise. Using the poles makes it more purposeful and effective method of walking. Nordic walking is social and therefore reduces the effects of stress especially if you haven’t done exercise for a while. Being outside it is relaxing and once a sustainable rhythm is established it can motivate and give the sense of enjoyment so more likely to keep fitter and more active. As our lifestyles at work become more sedentary thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Nordic walking can provide a fabulous cardio workout.
Breathlessness and Asthma …doesn’t have to stop you from exercising
‘Turns a Walk into a Workout’ this is the message behind Nordic Walking. Nordic walking is beneficial for rehabilitation for people suffering with breathing issues including breathlessness. In using the poles posture improves, and consequently people finding walking more comfortable as the intensity of the exercise involves key major muscle groups. In using the poles standing upright the chest opens up enabling the lungs to inflate more and the diaphram contracts and relaxes more easily reducing breathlessness and increasing lung capacity.
The poles can also be used to support walkers when taking a rest if they need to get their breath back increasing the confidence of the person to feel they can walk further.
Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple sclerosis
Despite these conditions becoming progressive and have varying degrees of severity Nordic walking can support and help these individuals keep heathy and active maintaining muscle tone and improving general fitness. The poles and technique helps build confidence and provides stability, increasing overall wellbeing and energy levels. Individuals will use a slightly different pole as the typical Nordic walking pole with straps can lead to a trip hazard. Research into Nordic Walking and Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis has proven that Nordic walking has extremely positive general health and wellbeing benefits
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in all age groups. Unlike type1 Type 2 is triggered by lifestyle and diet. Exercise can reverse type 2 diabetes as blood glucose is better regulated, as glucose is used during exercise for energy, exercise burns calories which requires glucose and Nordic walking uses more muscle groups and therefore becomes an even more effective of regulation blood glucose.
One of the challenges of obesity is individuals tend not to exercise due to the uncomfortable feeling of being active when overweight. Nordic walking reduces this as using the poles it is transferring body weight to the arms so the legs and the motion of walking becomes easier. That in itself encourages a feel good factor so individuals are more likely to continue with the immediate feeling of achievement of being able to walk further.
The huge benefits of Nordic Walking is being outside in the fresh air and open space. Nordic Walking is sociable so you are not in isolation and due to the rhythmic steps breathing is controlled and refocuses the mind on the activity. Learning a new skill in itself has positive benefits especially when there is a group of you all learning this skill together.
Testimonial from a client ‘I love Nordic Walking it doesn’t matter who you walk with, you always have such a laugh.’